New details in possible lightning injury of Fort Pierce man in Martin





A worker was seriously injured at an Ocean Breeze Park construction site and taken to a local hospital, the Martin County Sheriff’s Office said. DAN RORABAUGH/TCPALM.COM

MARTIN COUNTY — Co-workers of a man critically injured after he was possibly struck by lightning at a construction site said they heard a loud bang, but never saw lightning, according to a Martin County Sheriff’s Office report.

Guadalupe Salinas, 46, of the 300 block of South 21st Street, Fort Pierce, was taken to Martin Medical Center with critical injuries. An update on his condition was not available Thursday.

Salinas works for Prestige Gunite Inc., a concrete contractor based in Fort Pierce, said Martin County Sheriff’s Detective Karl Nelson. Christopher Mason, communications director for Prestige Gunite, said Salinas’ injuries “were the result of an errant lightning strike.”

“Our hearts go out to (Salinas’) family at this difficult time,” Mason said. Mason declined further comment.

Salinas and his co-workers were working on a pool shortly before 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at an Ocean Breeze Park construction site near the 3000 block of Northeast Indian River Drive at the time of the incident, the report said.

Worker William Betes said he was doing plumbing work in a building adjacent to the construction site when he and his co-worker, David Suarez, heard what he said “sounded like a bomb going off”. Betes, 58, of Palm City, said he and Suarez ran to the site, saw Salinas face up in the pool and helped his co-workers get him out of the empty pool under construction.

Betes said he didn’t see any burns on Salinas’ body, but did see a big black and blue mark on Salinas’ forehead. Betes and Suarez, who both work for Jensen Beach Plumbing, noticed the man was not breathing and performed CPR on him until emergency medical services crews arrived, Betes said.

Before the incident, Salinas was sweeping about 2 feet from the edge of the pool, co-workers told deputies.

They said it was raining lightly when they heard the explosion, the report said.

More:Worker injured from possible lightning strike

Patrick Read, general manager for Prestige Gunite, said the incident is a tragic circumstance.

“There was no warning and no indication a storm was coming,” Read said.

Showers, thunderstorms and a couple of lightning strikes moved west from the shore into Martin County at the time of the incident, said Jessie Smith, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Melbourne.

The Sheriff’s Office, Fire Rescue and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating the incident.

No further information was available. 





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