3 dead after lightning strike in Madison
August 22, 2007 (MADISON, Wis.) (WLS) -- A lightning strike in Madison, Wisconsin, killed three people Wednesday. Investigators say they were standing near a bus stop at a flooded intersection when lightning hit a utility pole causing a power line to fall in the water.
Madison police spokesman Mike Hanson says a group of friends were waiting for a bus when heavy rain hit the area yesterday afternoon. Twenty-two-year-old Demetrius Dobbs and his fiancee were boarding the bus as lightning hit a utility pole and caused a live wire to fall into the water. When he saw the mother and her daughter fall into the water, he jumped off the bus to try to save his friends but all three were killed.
Police say Dobbs did pull the mother's 7-year-old boy onto the bus after he suffered a shock. The boy is recovering in a hospital and is expected to be released soon.
Police identified the victims as Dobbs, 28-year-old Lakisha Dancy and 2-year-old Maya Reese. All are from Madison.
It happened around 4:30 Wednesday afternoon. Witnesses compare the weather at the time to a monsoon. They say 2 inches of rain fell in only half an hour leaving standing water about 2 feet deep.
The intersection of Northport and Sherman Avenue in Madison, Wisconsin, was shut down to traffic. Emergency workers were trying to prevent any more deaths after three people were electrocuted.
"Just smoke coming up from the side of the bus and the whole side, and then all of a sudden you see flames pop-up," said Raymond Boland, witness.
Firefighters working in the area found the victims. Fire department spokesperson Lori Wirth explained what happened during a live broadcast in Madison.
"They saw downed power lines down. They found three victims on the sidewalk where the power lines had come down," said Lori Wirth, Madison Fire Department.
Police say the storm hit during the evening rush. A heavy downpour caused flooding and that's when lighting struck a utility poll.
"In doing so the lighting strike caused a wire to set free. It was an arching wire and electrical wire, and it landed in the water where they were standing," said police spokesman Mike Hanson.
A mother and her two children were about to board a bus in the rain when the loose wire landed nearby.
"This caused the mother and a toddler to die. The other child survived and someone came off the bus to render aid. That person was also electrocuted and died," said Hanson. The bus driver also tried to help but he was shocked as he stepped off the bus and fell back. Police say that saved his life.
The surviving child and the bus driver were transported to the University of Wisconsin Hospital where they remained Wednesday night.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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