Two National Guardsmen deployed to Washington D.C. due to protests were injured in a lightning strike during severe storms Thursday night into early Friday, hours after an initial bolt struck the Washington Monument.
“We received a call around midnight informing us that two military personnel had been injured in a lightning strike,” D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department Public Information Officer Vito Maggiolo told USA TODAY. “We responded and the two individuals were transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.”
Maggiolo said the guardsmen were injured in Lafayette Park, with close proximity to the White House, in a separate incident from the lightning bolt that struck the Washington Monument.
Both soldiers were from the South Carolina Army National Guard, a spokeswoman for the state’s Guard told the Greenville News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Their names and hometowns were not released.
“Both were conscious and alert with no visible signs of burns,” Doug Buchanan, chief communications officer for the D.C. fire department, told the Washington Post. “It was clearly an indirect strike, presumably to a tree that was nearby.”
The Washington Monument, at 555 feet, is routinely struck by lightning on its aluminum crown, which has been melted down from multiple strikes per year.
The National Weather Service announced a flash flood warning in Washington D.C. Thursday afternoon that remained in effect through Friday evening.
“We’re not leaving!” protestors chant. At least a hundred people are still standing in front of the Lafayette Square fence as thunder crackles above. pic.twitter.com/rqUvSSw2Jb— Samantha Schmidt (@schmidtsam7) June 5, 2020
"We think there will be more storms this afternoon and this evening with potential for heavier rainfall because of slower storm motion," said meteorologist Luis Rosa from the Baltimore Washington Forecast Office of the National Weather Services.
He warned protesters and other civilians to seek shelter, maintain distance from trees, streams, creaks, and wait 30 minutes after the latest clap of thunder before going outside.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: National Guardsmen struck by lightning; Washington Monument also hit