Four people were injured during a lightning strike near the White House on Thursday evening, according to fire officials.
District of Columbia fire and emergency medical service officials said two men and two women were taken to hospitals after being found just before 7 p.m. in Lafayette Square. They were found about 100 feet from the statue of Andrew Jackson, just north of the White House, Vito Maggiolo, a spokesperson for the D.C. Fire Department, said at an evening news conference.
Officials said all four have critical, life-threatening injuries. The direct cause of their injuries remains under investigation.
“All we know for sure is that there was a lightning strike in their immediate vicinity and all four were injured,” Maggiolo said Thursday night.
He added that officers with the Secret Service and the National Park Police were near the scene of the strike and were able to immediately provide aid to the victims.
“Anytime you have somebody who’s injured, the ability to provide immediate lifesaving care is critical to the outcome, and that’s what happened here today,” Maggiolo said.
The Andrew Jackson statue, a bronze cast of the seventh president atop a horse, sits on a marble base and is surrounded by a fence.
About 27 people die of lightning strikes each year in the U.S., according to averages over the last 10 years. Only about 10% of those struck by lightning are killed.
Two National Guardsman were struck by lightning in Lafayette Square in 2020 and were hospitalized.