Two paraprofessionals at Westside Elementary escaped serious injury when lightning struck nearby Friday morning at 7:40 a.m. (photo by SAM BURROUGHS/Lake City Reporter).

Lightning strike sends two to hospital

Paraprofessionals at Westside Elementary suffer minor injuries

A lightning strike on the campus of Westside Elementary School Friday morning sent two paraprofessionals to the hospital briefly.
Neither was hit directly, and neither was seriously hurt.
“It was at 7:40 a.m., so most of our children were in the classrooms,” said school principal April Vinson.
Directly after the strike, the school, located at 1956 County Road 252B, immediately went into “code blue,” a weather alert that restricts movement on campus.
Lesia Wallace, who was directing traffic in the car rider lane in front of the school, began to feel unwell after the strike, which occurred nearby.
According to Vinson, the paraprofessional said that her umbrella was jolted out of her hands.
After getting her to the front office and being assessed by school nurse Jessica Ward, 911 was called and the Wallace was transported to Lake City Medical Center.
The hospital performed an evaluation of her heart, according to Vinson, who received an update around 10:30 a.m. that the paraprofessional was well but would be monitored for a few hours longer.
“We did have another paraprofessional about 30 minutes later indicate to us that she was having some symptoms as well, some numbing and tingling, headache, a little bit of stumbling. So we took her to the emergency room at Lake City Medical Center as well,” Vinson said.
An ambulance was not called for the second paraprofessional, Della Kilgore. Two staff members transported her. Vinson said that she was evaluated and sent home with a clean bill of health.
“We currently have all of the teachers evaluating and observing all of the children for any signs and symptoms of that,” Vinson said. “I have asked all of the teachers to evaluate the students for any signs and symptoms that would be related to a strike.”
Symptoms that were being watched for included blurred vision, heart palpitations, numbness, tingling, headaches and confusion.
Two additional nurses were sent from the county office to help assess the situation.
“We are just taking every single precaution,” Vinson said.
A voice message and a letter will be sent to all of the parents regarding the situation.

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