Naples Daily News

Man survives lightning strike in downtown shopping district

06/17/2003

By MIREIDY FERNANDEZ, mmfernandez@naplesnews.com



A bolt of lightning struck a man in the downtown Naples shopping district Monday afternoon, Collier County paramedics said.

The victim was hit about 4:20 p.m. along the 1300 block of Third Street South, a popular shopping district in the heart of Old Naples, witnesses said.

Capt. Dan Bowman, a spokesman for Collier County Emergency Medical Services, declined to release the victim's name, age and condition, citing patient privacy laws.

Bowman confirmed paramedics received a call that a man had been struck by lightning along Third Street South.

The store owner and assistant manager of Christofle Pavillon said they watched a bolt of lightning come down from the sky, though it wasn't raining or thundering at the time, and strike the man.

"We thought it was a bomb when we heard the lightning," said Susan Canipelle, the store owner. "It wasn't raining at all."

Susan Westwood, the store's assistant manager, said she saw the incident unfold.

"It was a big flash of light," she said.

Canipelle and Westwood said they saw the man walk along a ramp near the front of their store when lightning struck him, bringing him to the ground.

Both women said they immediately stepped in to help the victim.

"He said, 'I got struck by lightning.' I went to the back of the store and got all kinds of towels and cushions," Canipelle recalled.

Westwood said, "And I called 911."

While the women tried to comfort the victim, they said another lightning bolt came down, so they decided to bring the man into the store, a luxury table top business. Three other women who witnessed what had happened helped Canipelle and Westwood carry the victim inside.

Once inside, Canipelle and Westwood said they kept the man alert by talking to him.

"We were saying, 'Are you OK?' We put his feet up and starting checking his pulse," Canipelle said. "We kept him talking."

"I was worried that he would lose consciousness," Westwood added.

Paramedics transported the man to NCH Naples hospital for treatment. Information about the man's medical condition was unavailable late Monday.