Three Workers Struck by Lightning
at South Carolina Plant Nursery
July 10, 2006
Moncks Corner, SC- Three unidentified
female workers were apparently struck by lightning while on the
job at Carolina Nurseries in Moncks Corner Thursday afternoon. Carolina
Nurseries is the largest plant nursery in South Carolina, covering
about 700 acres.
The nursery at U.S. Highway 52 and
Gaillard Road was preparing to end the day early around 2:30 p.m.
because of the storms, company President J. Guy said.
It is unclear if the women were hit
by lightning or if it struck nearby and traveled through the ground.
They were working about 200 feet from a tree line and were also
near a pond, Whitesville Rural Fire Department Chief Tim Stephenson
Chief Stephenson and his six men responded
to the incident, along with the Berkeley County Emergency Medical
They reportedly found three women,
lying across a roadway at the facility. the most severely injured
victim was in cardiac arrest and was receiving CPR from a co-worker,
The woman still wasn't breathing and
had no pulse when firefighters arrived but had no visible injuries,
Stephenson said. The jolt from an electrical shock can cause the
heart to quiver, he said. Firefighters took over CPR and gave the
woman oxygen. Her pulse returned after Berkeley County EMS shocked
her, he said.
“You have about four to ten minutes
before brain death actually occurs,” Stephenson said,”so she was
extremely lucky there were people here who knew exactly what to
do and how to perform CPR.”"The other two people appeared to
have minor injuries, mostly just shaken up," he said.
The three injured workers were taken
to Trident Regional Medical Center in North Charleston for treatment.
The two stabilized individuals have
since been released. The woman in critical condition has been taken
to the burn center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta, Georgia.
Meteorologist Steven Taylor of the
National Weather Service in Charleston said there wasn't much the
woman could have done to prevent being struck.
"If you're caught in the open
field, the idea is to make yourself as small as possible, preferably
crouching down and leaning on your heels," he said. "When
you're out in the field, unfortunately, there is no where to go."
You should not seek shelter under tall
isolated objects, such as trees, Taylor said. Also, stay clear of
metal objects, such as fences and poles. They can be easy conductors
for lightning to travel long distances.
"Anytime you hear thunder, you
need to go indoors," Taylor said. "If you are able to
hear thunder, you're close enough to be struck by lightning."
Thursday was the first time a nursery
employee was injured by lightning in 25 years in business, Guy said.
The company always pulls people from the field when it starts lightning,