Two treated at hospital after nearby lightning strike


From staff reports

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

CAROVA BEACH — Two men, one of them Carova Beach’s volunteer fire chief, were treated at a Virginia hospital Tuesday night after lightning struck near where they were standing.

Currituck Fire-EMS Chief Chip Melton said the Carova Beach Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the 200 block of Crane Road in Carova Beach at 8:35 p.m. following a report of a possible fire in the woods caused by lightning.

After the firefighters arrived, Melton said they tried to get an elevated view of the area by going to the third floor deck of a vacation home on the street.

While they were looking for the fire, lightning apparently struck the deck where the Carova Beach Fire Department’s chief and the man who was renting the home were standing. Neither man was struck by lightning, however, the proximity of the strike and its impact knocked both off their feet

Melton said both men were transported by ambulance to Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, where they were treated and released.

Because of patient confidentially rules, Melton was prohibited from releasing either man’s name.

Subsequent media reports, however, identified the Carova Beach fire chief treated at the hospital as Jay Laughmiller.

Laughmiller told Norfolk television WTKR that when the lightning struck the deck, he felt like someone had hit him over the head with a frying pan.

“My phone went one way, my radio went another,” Laughmiller said.