Four people injured in apparent lightning strike near White House

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Four people injured in apparent lightning strike near White House

Four people were in critical condition Thursday night after an apparent lightning strike in a park across the street from the White House, local fire and emergency officials said.

A spokesman for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, Vito Maggiolo, said agency personnel found the victims with critical life-threatening injuries in Lafayette Square shortly before 7 p.m. The unidentified individuals — two adult males and two adult females — were transported to area hospitals in critical condition, Maggiolo said. He said it was not clear whether their conditions had changed since being hospitalized.

A U.S. Park Police and the Uniformed Secret Service were witnesses to the lightning strike and began treating the victims before the arrival of fire and emergency medical personnel, Maggiolo said.

He said that it wasn't clear if the individuals were related.

NBC News reached out to the White House, National Park Service and Secret Service for comment.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the National Weather Service a few minutes before authorities responded to the incident, warning that potential hail and wind gusts up to 60 mph could hit Washington, D.C.

Lafayette Square is located north of the White House and is frequented by tourists and protesters, as well as workers at nearby private and government buildings. The park was the site of a racial justice protest that was violently cleared by federal police officers in June 2020.