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.
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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.
The National Lightning Safety Council reports that Florida is the deadliest state for lightning in the nation, with 85 lightning deaths since 2006.
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.
Leisure activities still rank as the most deadly category in lightning deaths, with water-related activities topping the category.
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.