Lightning strike kills one man, injures another in Oconto County

By Terry Kovarik |

Published 08/04 2014 06:50PM

Updated 08/04 2014 06:57PM

OCONTO COUNTY (WFRV) Two men were working in tree house Sunday night at 8305 County Highway "E" in the Town of Morgan. Neighbor Daryl Mommaerts says skies were somewhat cloudy at that time but nothing to be alarmed about.

"It really didn't seem threatening. Then a big cloud came over head and it just stayed there. Then it started thundering. No lighting just thunder. No rain at all," Mommaerts said.

But Mommaerts said things changed quickly.

"About five thirty, a loud crack of thunder. I mean the horses ran to the barn. The dogs ran to my feet. I know it hit close. I didn't know how close," he said.

Mommaerts also didn't know that lightning had struck the tree were the two men were working. Oconto County Sheriff's Deputies and Grass Valley-Morgan Fire Fighters found the 31-year-old man who lived here on the ground with serve injuries. A 27-year-old Abrams man was found still in the tree house and pronounced dead at the scene. Meteorologists say thunder without signs of lightning does not mean it's safe to be outside, especially above ground.

"Especially if you're above ground, in a tree or a utility pole, for example, if you hear thunder you're close enough to be struck by lightning," said Jeff Last, Warning Coordinator Meteorologist at the Nationa Weather Service office in Green Bay.

And as soon as you hear thunder, the safest course of action is to get inside.

"The ground acts as a conductor. So if lightning strikes a nearby tree or utility pole for example and you're nearby, you could be killed by that lightning strike," Last said.

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