Deltona worker’s death marks 4th fatal lightning strike in US this year

Florida is deadliest state for lightning in nation

DELTONA, Fla. – A construction worker in Deltona became the fourth lightning fatality in the United States this year after coworkers say he was struck while working on a roof.

Volusia County sheriff’s deputies arrived to the home on Sterling Pointe Drive after the incident was reported shortly before 2 p.m. Monday.

Coworkers say 24 year-old Edvin J. Velasquez was standing on the roof of the home working on the framing when a lightning bolt from passing storms struck him, causing him to fall to the concrete below.

Velasquez was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, officials said.


Sheriff officials said information gathered at the scene and examinations of the victim’s body were consistent with a lightning strike. The official cause of death will be determined by the medical examiner.

Velasquez’s death marks the fourth lightning fatality reported in the U.S. this year and the second in Florida after a Brevard man was struck by lightning while boating in mid-April.

Lightning Fatalities by State so far in 2023 (National Lightning Safety Council)

The National Lightning Safety Council reports that Florida is the deadliest state for lightning in the nation, with 85 lightning deaths since 2006.

U.S. Lightning Fatalities 2013-2023 (National Lightning Safety Council)

Further analysis of lightning-related deaths shows that roofing is one of the deadliest work-related activities. Since 2006, there have now been 20 roof-related lightning deaths across the U.S. Of those, 11 happened in Florida.

Other deadly work-related activities are farming or ranching, construction and lawn care.

Roofing is one of the deadliest work-related activities for lightning deaths. (National Lightning Safety Council)

Leisure activities still rank as the most deadly category in lightning deaths, with water-related activities topping the category.

Water-related activities accounts for 34% of lightning-related deaths across the United States followed by sports, and camping. (National Lightning Safety Council)

July is the most active time for people to be outside, especially with the July Fourth holiday. It leads the year with the most lightning deaths, followed by August and June.

The graph shows the months with the highest number of lightning fatalities. June, July, and August (summer months) are most active. July is most active out of the year with more people outdoors and surrounding the Independence Day celebrations. (National Lightning Safety Council)

About the Author:

Emmy Award Winning Meteorologist Samara Cokinos joined the News 6 team in September 2017. In her free time, she loves running and being outside.