Lightning hits 3 kids at Ind. summer camp; man dies in Las Vegas heat

June 29, 2013 at 10:01 PM
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ZIONSVILLE, Ind., June 29 (UPI) -- Lightning struck a summer camp in Indiana Saturday, injuring three children, one critically, and heat was a factor in a Las Vegas man's death, authorities said.

Las Vegas paramedics responding to a heat-related call said they found an elderly man dead in his un-air conditioned home, KLAS-TV, Las Vegas, reported.

Fire officials say the man had medical issues that were aggravated by the heat, which reached at least 113 degrees in Las Vegas Saturday, but a coroner was to determine the official cause of death, the TV station said.

In Indiana, police said the lightning strike occurred at an open field at the Goldman Union Camp Institute near Zionsville, a city about 18 miles north of Indianapolis, The Indianapolis Star reported.

It wasn't known what activity the children were participating in when the bolt hit them, the newspaper said.

Police said camp officials did not want to talk about the incident publicly and the Star said a woman who answered the camp's main phone line said "we're not at liberty" to discuss it.

"We really can't give out any information at this time," she said. "Right now safety is just our highest concern. Campers at our camp are doing fine, and we're going on with our program."

The newspaper said the victims were a 9-year-old girl from Missouri, a 9-year-old boy from Kentucky and a 12-year-old boy from Ohio. Which one was in critical condition wasn't clear from police reports, the Star said.

Authorities were called to the camp, where about 100 children were enrolled, about 1:40 p.m. as thunderstorms moved through the area.

Officials were called to the scene around 1:40 p.m. as thunderstorms rolled through the area. Camp counselors had begun "lifesaving efforts" by the time officers arrived, an Indianapolis police report said.

Dangerously high heat baked much of the U.S. West again Saturday.

The National Weather Service said

"We'll set record highs today," said National Weather Service meteorologist John Dumas, noting that Ojai, Calif., set a record high at 104 degrees, beat its previous record of 103, and San Luis Obispo, Calif., tied its record of 97. As of 3 p.m. it was 119 in Phoenix and 126 at Death Valley, Calif., said.

High temperatures, roaring winds, punishing rains and deadly flash floods were all part of the United States' weather mix Friday, officials said.

The heat wave gripping the West sent 30 rock festival fans to the hospital in Las Vegas where it hit a record-tying 117 degrees, authorities said.

The 30 Vans Warped Tour fans who wound up in the hospital were in addition to 170 who were treated for heat exhaustion on-site at the outdoor concert at the Silverton Casino, Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa told KLAS-TV, Las Vegas.

An elderly woman was presumed dead after a creek in Fort Plain, N.Y., surged out of its banks and swept her mobile home away. Police said Ethel Healey, 87, had refused to evacuate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a disaster declaration for 15 counties hit by storms that dropped 3-5 inches of rain and fueled the flash flooding.

Roads were washed out, at least one bridge was gone and the Erie Canal from central New York to Waterford was closed.

NBC News reported the high heat zapped power equipment in Los Angeles, leaving streets without traffic signals, resulting in commuter jams.

WFMY-TV, Greensboro, N.C., reported severe storms with winds up to 60 mph Friday knocked out power to thousands of homes and bowled over many trees throughout the region

WAGA-TV, Atlanta, reported strong winds and rain toppled many trees in the Atlanta area, where more than 21,000 customers lost power.

The (Wilmington, Del.) News Journal reported the Newark, Del., area was hit by winds up to 60 mph, lightning that struck a train and heavy rains that caused flooding that inundated roads.

The flooding stranded Newark City Councilman Stu Markham, who was caught by flood waters from a tributary of the White Clay Creek.

"I can't get home," Markham said, laughing a bit as he talked to The News Journal. "This is my way home, and I wanted to see how it looked.

"If you think about the last week or so, we've had heavy rain after heavy rain after heavy rain and there's no place for it to go."

The National Weather Service said the high temperatures would continue into the coming week, with more records likely to fall across the U.S. West and Southwest.

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