A man struck indirectly by lightning Tuesday in View Royal is recovering.
But one of his first stops Wednesday – after being discharged from hospital Tuesday night – was the View Royal Fire Hall to thank the firefighters that came to his aid.
“He said it was like going through the worst workout,” said acting Fire Chief Rob Marshall, adding doctors told the man that when he was struck all the muscles in his body contracted at once.
“He was in extreme pain,” Marshall said when crews arrived on scene but was conscious and talking.
The man was filling a propane tank at Fort Victoria RV Park when the lightning struck a nearby tree. Marshall estimated he was roughly five to 10 feet away from the tree and “it went to ground and energized the ground.”
Despite the intense pain, Marshall noted the man was able to get up, disconnect the propane tank he was filling and turn off his service vehicle before crews arrived. “We couldn’t believe he was able to do all that – he got struck by lightning and his first thought was the safety of those around him.”
Marshall and the rest of the staff at the fire hall actually heard the thunder and saw the flash at around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. In fact, he said they originally thought the hall had been struck and were outside inspecting the structure when they were paged out. Luckily, Fort Victoria is located across the street from the hall. “It was really the perfect storm,” Marshall said, noting the hall’s location and also the close proximity of Victoria General Hospital.
“Lightning on the Island is a rare occurrence, let alone someone getting struck,” he added.
While he said View Royal crews are occasionally paged out for lightning strikes, it’s usually in rural areas and due to the possibility for wildfires but “never anywhere in a populated area or for someone getting hit by it,” he said. “It’s such a freak accident.”
According to the Canadian Red Cross, lightning strikes kill or injure an estimated 120 to 190 people in Canada each year.
It kills more people than hail, wind, rain and tornadoes combined and a lightning bolt carries up to 100 million volts of electricity.