Two Coloradans, the first to respond to Florida lightning strike victims

Posted at 3:42 PM, Jul 23, 2019

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. — When a lightning bolt struck a man on a Florida beach and injured seven others, it was a member of the Castle Rock Police Department that was the first to respond and render aid.

“We had just finished enjoying our lunch when the lightning strike occurred,” Commander Jason Lyons told Denver7.

Lyons and his girlfriend Nikki Widmer were on vacation in Clearwater Beach, Florida, over the weekend. On Sunday afternoon, storms moved in and the signal was given for the beach to be cleared. As one group moved off, lightning struck a man in his forties, injuring seven others around him.

“So I immediately pushed my way through the crowd, jumped a fence, and ran towards where the victims were laying,” Lyons said.

The commander says he started performing CPR to the man who was struck, who was face-down on the beach. Widmer, who's a nurse at Children’s Hospital in Aurora, also assisted victims. The pair eventually helped get the victims inside a beachside bar, where first responders arrived.

“Clinically speaking, (the male victim) was dead when I started CPR. He was not breathing, had no pulse,” Lyons said. “But (paramedics) were able to get a pulse before they left the restaurant.”

That man remains in a Florida hospital in critical condition.

“I hope that our efforts prove to be beneficial. I pray for that,” Lyons said.