Emergency responders survive brush with lightning

Lightning strikes ambulance as EMS workers load patient into it

LEITCHFIELD, KY (WAVE) - Two Grayson County emergency responders and a Sheriff's deputy have felt the jolt of nature's wrath, and lived to tell about it. But they're not ready to talk about it, yet.

"I think they were pretty fortunate," Clarkson Fire & Rescue EMT Ryan Hatfield said. "The good Lord was watching over them."

Paramedic Benny Baxter Jr. and EMT Blake Scherlocke were first on the scene when a car wrecked in the eastbound lanes of the Western Kentucky Parkway shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday.

Sheriff''s Sgt. Bryan Hammons, also an EMT was on-scene, loading the driver into the ambulance.

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"Lightning strikes are pretty devastating," Hatfield said. "I didn't know what I would walk into."

The bolt struck the front of the ambulance, turning it into a circuit. Baxter's left hand reportedly was touching the steel frame.

The forced knocked him and Scherlocke to the ground and pushed Hammons backward.

"When I arrived, they all were alert, but Scherlocke had Baxter on a heart monitor," Hatfield said. "His arm was tingling.

The stretcher-gurney had collapsed. Additional crews took Baxter, Scherlocke and the original patient to Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center. Baxter and Scherlocke were released to their families. Sheriff's reports listed the patient's injuries as non-life-threatening. Hospital personnel declined to release more information, citing medical privacy laws.

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WAVE 3 News has been unable to reach Baxter, Scherlocke or Hammons.

"They were all shaken, " Hatfield said.  

As was he.

"I know all of them, we've worked together," said Hatfield, who works weekdays with the Hardin County Ambulance Service in Sonora. "I'm just glad they were able to go home to their families at the end of their shift."

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