WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Four people were in critical condition on Thursday after an lightning strike at Washington's Lafayette Square in front of the White House, a D.C. fire official said.
The injured - two adult males and two adult females - were transported to area hospitals with life-threatening injuries, Vito Maggiolo, a D.C. Fire and EMS spokesperson, said.
Lafayette Square, a seven-acre public park that lies directly north of the White House, is often crowded with visitors, especially in the summer months. The lightning struck the four people near a tree that stands yards away from the fence that surrounds the presidential residence and offices.
Temperatures in Washington exceeded 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32.2 degrees Celsius) on Thursday, although, with the high humidity, the heat felt like more than 100F, forecasters said. A violent thunderstorm swept through the capital late in the day.
Officers of the U.S. Secret Service and U.S. Park Police, which have a regular presence in the square, went to the assistance of the victims immediately, Maggiolo said.
(Reporting By Mary Milliken and Frank McGurty; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Michael Perry)