Community gathers to remember 2 killed by lightning

July 22, 2012 7:41:48 PM PDT
It's been a week since three men were struck and two were killed by lightning while standing under a tree in a soccer field in north Harris County.

For soccer players across Houston, Sunday was about remembering the two men who lost their lives.

Jose Romero and Angel Delgado both died instantly.

"There's no words you can say, but our pain is with them. I mean, my heart goes to them," soccer league spokesperson Felix Gollo said.

Everyone on the soccer field that day cleared the area once the rain started pouring. The three victims took cover under a tree and were struck by lightning in a matter of seconds.

Experts say staying in an open field or taking cover under a tree is the last thing anyone should do.

"If you're in the open area, you are the tallest object in the middle of the field and therefore can be struck by lightning," ABC13 Chief Meterologist Tim Heller said. "If you stand under a tree or flag pole, you're standing next to what could be one of the tallest objects."

According to NOAA, 14 people from several states have died because of lightning so far this year.

Six were standing under trees. Eight people were killed after staying in a wide open space during a storm.

The only survivor from last Sunday's deadly strike is Edelmiro Barrera, who is still in extreme pain.

"I have pain in my chest, in my arm, my legs, my back," Barrera said.

Heller said safety was close for the men.

"The only safe place in a lightning storm is inside -- either inside of a building or inside of a car," he said. "The sad thing is at the soccer field, the parking lot was not that far away. Those gentlemen would have been much better off had they went to the parking lot and gotten into a car."

Romero and Delgado will each be buried in Mexico. The memorial gathering Sunday also raised funds to help their families with funeral expenses. They collected more than $18,000.

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