Broward County

Lightning strike kills one construction worker, injures another in Pembroke Pines

During a thunderstorm, the minute you hear thunder, you should take cover.
During a thunderstorm, the minute you hear thunder, you should take cover. Getty Images/iStockphoto

A construction worker was killed and another was injured after they were struck by lightning Tuesday afternoon on the grounds of Pines City Center, according to Pembroke Pines Fire Rescue.

The unidentified man who died was in his 30s and may have taken a direct hit by the strike as he worked with the rebar for concrete, said Ruben Troncoso, operations chief of Pines Fire Rescue.

“He had significant injuries that were consistent with a direct strike,” Troncosco said, noting there was an entry and exit wound. “He was in cardiac arrest when crews arrived.”

The other man, who also has not been identified, was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital and was expected to survive.

Troncoso said the call came in at about 1:30 p.m. reporting the strike at 103rd Avenue and Pines Boulevard. Construction workers had already begun CPR on the man who later died.

According to the National Weather Service, storms developed around that time, but the bulk of the storm was miles away. It was not raining at the time of the strike.

“Unfortunately, this is not too uncommon in South Florida during this time of year,” said Meteorologist Chris Fisher. “A good rule of thumb is the moment you hear thunder, you should take cover.”

The Naples Daily News, citing a USA TODAY NETWORK-Florida analysis of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data, reported that Florida has had the most lightning-related deaths since Jan. 1, 2007, with 52. Texas came in second with 21.

Tadd Schwartz, a spokesperson for Pines City Center, a planned mixed-use community that includes a civic center, said the two men worked for a subcontractor.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two construction workers involved in today's unfortunate accident,” he said. “The matter is being reviewed by the proper authorities and the contractor on-site is cooperating in that process.”