Lightning strikes, critically injures landscaper in New Smyrna Beach

Middlebury Loop resident describes scene

NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. – A man performing landscaping work in a New Smyrna Beach neighborhood was sent to the hospital Tuesday after being struck by lightning, according to the New Smyrna Beach Fire Department.

One of the neighbors, Mary Buluta, told News 6 she heard a loud storm outside after returning to her home on Middlebury Loop Tuesday.

According to Buluta, there were two landscapers working for the Tymber Trace neighborhood association outside on the lawn.

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Buluta said the men got her attention to call the fire department after a lightning strike caused a palm tree near her backyard to catch fire.

“I came out here, and the two guys were in my driveway, and I said, ‘Are you OK?’” Buluta said. “And they go, ‘Yeah, but look.’ And they were showing me the palm trees on fire. I said, ‘OK, I’ll call 911.’”

Moments later, Buluta told News 6, one of the workers — the man whom fire officials said was hit by a lightning strike — fell to the ground.

“I called for the fire truck, and then the next thing was, ‘Please get an ambulance here because they are doing CPR on him; He’s out,’” Buluta said.

She added that neighbors rushed to the scene to help the man following the lightning strike.

“I don’t know who they were,” Buluta explained. “But people were coming out of the woodwork, and the one guy, I don’t know who he was, he was doing CPR on him.”

Buluta said she’s lived in her New Smyrna Beach home since the late 1990s and experienced some of the worst storms Florida had to offer. She told News 6 Tuesday evening’s storm was severe.

“Intense, yeah, big bolts of lightning all over,” she said. “It was horrible.”

Fire officials have not yet released the worker’s identity. He remains in critical condition at Halifax Health after first responders were able to revive him.

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About the Authors:

Anthony, a graduate of the University of Florida, joined in April 2022.

Troy graduated from California State University Northridge with a Bachelor's Degree in Communication. He has reported on Mexican drug cartel violence on the El Paso/ Juarez border, nuclear testing facilities at the Idaho National Laboratory and severe Winter weather in Michigan.