Half Moon Bay man gets struck by lightning


"It picked me up and dropped me like a ton of bricks," said Roy Blair.

He now advises others do not barbecue in the rain. That's what he was doing Thursday night during a nasty thunderstorm. Blair went out back to get some hotdogs before they burned and that's when bad luck struck.

"Lightning hit the tree, it hit the fence in the backyard and I saw it. It came across the lawn, right across the asphalt, right up the barbecue and into me. It picked me up and dropped me like a ton of bricks onto the concrete," said Blair.

Blair managed to get himself inside. Coastside Fire Protection District in cooperation with CAL FIRE responded to the 911 call.

"The lightning was probably in the vicinity of the area, but close enough that the peripheral energy affected him," said CAL FIRE Capt. Jonathan Cox. "The force and the kind of electricity associated with that lightning doesn't just affect the place that it strikes, but kind of a perimeter around it."

"I was kind of confused and a little worried," said Blair.

He was stable so first responders took him to the emergency room.

"Basically they got me to the hospital where they ran a bunch of tests and basically said I was OK," said Blair.

Cox grew up in the Bay Area, so he knows our storms, and even he was impressed with Thursday night's system.

"I don't remember a storm growing up that had that much intensity and came through with that much force," said Cox.

Usually, the department only gets two to three calls a night. Last night was anything but the usual.

"We had about 13 calls in the 24-hour period in the Coastside Fire District itself and another 13 or 14 calls in the unincorporated parts of San Mateo County," said Cox.

Cox also says this is the perfect time to remind everyone that if you see lightning, get out of open areas, get inside, and stay away from the windows.

The National Weather Service says an average of 54 people are killed each year by lightning. Hundreds more are permanently injured. So far there have been three deaths this year from lightning.

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