WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. – A mother died and her child and another 18-year-old woman were hurt after a lightning strike in Winter Springs, according to police.
The lightning strike happened Thursday afternoon at Trotwood Park in the area of 1300 Park Villa Place, according to officers.
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Seminole County Fire Department said a dog was also injured in the lightning strike.
Winter Springs police said two victims, the mother and her child, later identified as Nicole Tedesco and 10-year-old Ava, were taken to a hospital. The mother later died from her injuries, police said.
First responders said the 18-year-old originally left the scene on her own and said she was fine; however, she later called to be taken to the hospital. Officials said she, along with the child and dog, is in stable condition.
Police said Tedesco and her two daughters had just left Keeth Elementary when the lightning strike occurred. Police initially believed that Tedesco was waiting on one of her daughters to be released from school when the strike happened.
Investigators said a tree they were standing by was struck by lightning and the two were hurt when the area was energized. The other daughter was unharmed, officials said.
Seminole County Public Schools sent out a message to parents shortly after the lightning strike saying dismissals had been delayed districtwide.
“Due to inclement weather, dismissal throughout the district is being delayed. Please be aware that your child’s arrival at home may be later than expected. We appreciate your patience and understanding,” the message stated.
Seminole County Public Schools released a statement on the incident later in the afternoon. It said:
“This afternoon one of our Seminole County Public Schools’ students from Keeth Elementary and a member of their family were involved in a weather-related event. Shortly after the scheduled start of dismissal, a rapidly developing storm resulted in the immediate suspension of dismissal procedures. Unfortunately, the Keeth Elementary Cougar and their parent were struck by lightning at/near Trotwood Park. Emergency responders transported both the student and parent for treatment.
Seminole County Public Schools and Keeth Elementary School remain committed to the safety and security of all students and will continue to take safety precautions in the event of inclement weather. Additional counselors will be on campus to support students and/or staff impacted by this event. Our thoughts are with the families, students, and staff.”
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma also commented on the lightning strike, calling the incident “tragic.” Parents who walked their children to Keeth Elementary reacted to Thursday’s tragedy.
“These thunderstorms that pop up so quickly around here, what could you do? You can’t walk home and leave your kid to walk home alone so you have to stand here and wait,” Cathy Penfold Navarro said.
She added that this was a sad loss for the tightknit Keeth community.
“My daughter went there and now goes to Indian Trails and the Keeth family is a vibrant family,” she said.
Nicole Altonen said her prayers are with the family.
“We had to run because of how bad it was. We were down right in that area all we heard was a big boom,” Altonen said.
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