Two Dead, Two Injured After Lightning Strike Outside White House


Kay Smythe News and Commentary Writer
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Four people were critically injured Thursday after lightning struck outside of the White House.

The victims were located directly outside of the White House complex in Lafayette Square park at around 7 p.m. Thursday evening, according to a statement from D.C. Fire and EMS. When EMS arrived, they found two adult males and two adult females, all four suffering from life-threatening injuries, the statement continued.

Victims James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, died as a result of their injuries, CNN reported Friday morning. They were visiting D.C. from Wisconsin, the outlet noted.

The lightning struck near a tree just a few yards away from the fence surrounding the White House complex, close to the presidential residence and offices, Reuters noted. U.S. Secret Service agents and members of the U.S. Park Police assisted the victims immediately after the lightning struck, D.C. EMS noted in their statement.

“Trees are not safe places,” Fire department spokesman Vito Maggiolo said during a news briefing later Thursday night, according to The Washington Post. “Anybody that goes to seek shelter under a tree, that’s a very dangerous place to be.” All four were treated at the scene before being taken to local area hospitals, the statement continued. Part of the park was closed through Thursday evening, Politico reported. (RELATED: Video Captures The Exact Moment A Pickup Truck Was Struck By Lightning)

Temperatures in the area exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit on Thursday, but felt like more than 100 degrees due to high humidity, Reuters continued. A witness said the strike was “massive,” noting that “it shook the whole area. Literally like a bomb went off, that’s how it sounded,” The Washington Post reported.