Man struck by lightning while working on utility pole

June 30, 2012 8:41:11 PM PDT
The wet weather Saturday nearly turned deadly for a volunteer firefighter. EMS officials said they were able to bring him back from the brink of death.

The Angleton man -- who is also a utility worker -- was working on a utility pole when he was hit.

Friends and family rushed to the East Houston Medical Center. They're still astounded over what happened to the outgoing father of two.

Even paramedics say it's incredible he survived.

"It's pretty unbelievable," Shalacey Thistle with South Lake Houston EMS said. "Most people don't. That is something that is very traumatic, especially with a lightning strike to the head and he had some exit burns on his legs where, in layman's terms, you could see where lightning went out."

According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the man was installing a utility pole at a location at Miller Road 1 at Miller Road 2 in east Harris County when lightning struck him in the head. His co-workers immediately started giving him CPR until an ambulance arrived a few minutes later.

"He was dead when we arrived," Thistle said. "When you don't have a pulse and you're not breathing, clinically, you're dead."

Paramedics tried to revive him during the 20-minute drive to the hospital.

"The entire time we were doing CPR and administering drugs and all that, we didn't have a rhythm change," Thistle said. "It was right before we got to the hospital that we did."

His pulse returned as he was wheeled into the emergency room.

"When you find out that the patient has a pulse and he's maintained a pulse and is in the ICU, it's a great feeling," Thistle said.

At last check, the man was in critical condition. His name has not been released, but we're told he is in his late 30s and has been a volunteer firefighter with the Angleton Fire Department since April 2010.

A CenterPoint Energy spokesperson confirms he also works for North Houston Pole Line, which has been contracted out by CenterPoint.

Officials said the next 72 hours will reveal whether the man has any permanent injuries.

Please stay with Eyewitness News and for the latest on this story.

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