Man struck by lightning tells of dangers of making a run for it

You’ve pulled up to the store and the rains are just starting up. You can hear some thunder rumbling, what should you do? How dangerous is it to just dart into the store?

Last September, we introduced you to Zachary Treinen. he was needing to get to his truck to head to work, waiting for the storm to pass. It was taking too long, so he made the choice to dart quickly to his truck. That’s when it happened.

“There was lightning in the area and as I moved I was trying to wait for it to calm down. I’ll try to make a mad dash for the truck and didn’t make it. I felt all the hair on my body just stand up and being in the field and just knowing that that that’s the sign I was just hoping I can get to a dry spot, but my whole parking lot was absolutely covered with water. I was like ‘Oh God, please let it hit a rooftop or something,’ but it hit the ground and then the rest was history so to say it just kind of fanned out and it got me,” said Treinen.

We first interviewed Treinen the same day he was struck. A lightning bolt had struck a nearby light pole in the parking lot he was running across, and the ground current fanned out across the rain-soaked pavement and shocked him. While this partial hit is extremely dangerous, a direct strike is typically fatal.

“When it hit the pole I just happened to be actually looking that direction of the corner of my eye the pole got hit first and i saw it almost instantaneously as it hit the pole it went out and feathered out onto the ground in many different directions and it was very vivid i can remember it’s one few things that I actually do remember very vividly from the strike is this purple spider web that fanned out in every direction and one of those streamers got me and that’s all i remember from that until i woke up laying up to the truck,” added Treinen.

The strike threw him into the side of his truck and burned holes in the soles of his shoes. In many ways, he was lucky. His story could have ended very differently. When it comes to taking your chances with lightning, don’t. A typical lightning strike carries over 100 million volts. That’s enough power to run all the electricity in more than 500 homes for a day…per strike! Treinen knows he was lucky that morning when he decided to dart out to his truck and considers his shoes a reminder of his good luck.

He added, “I’m planning on putting it in a nice little picture frame or like something you put a basketball in but haven’t yet.”

— Storm Track Chief Meteorologist Matt Miller

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