Oxford Township lifeguard survives close encounter with lightning strike

Lifeguard Justin Lewis,18, talks about his encounter with a lightning strike while working in Oxford Township.

Lifeguard Justin Lewis,18, talks about his encounter with a lightning strike while working in Oxford Township. (7/14/16)

OXFORD TOWNSHIP - An Oxford Township lifeguard is recovering after a close encounter with a lightning strike Thursday afternoon.

Officials say that around 3:30 p.m., what is believed to be a microburst tore through the area of Oxford Furnace Lake.

About 60 people were out on the lake and beach area, including at least 40 Boy Scouts, according to the mayor. Everyone had to quickly take shelter inside cement bathrooms after the storm suddenly appeared.

According to officials, 18-year-old lifeguard Justin Lewis was attempting to secure a metal door when he was indirectly hit by lightning. 

“I was screaming for [my brother] out the door, so I had my hands on the sides of the door and I was about to run out and before I could, I remember seeing white and falling back,” Lewis says.

The teen was taken to the hospital to be checked out, and was cleared to go home.

"My mom is on vacation so she's freaking out,” Lewis says.  “My dad said ‘You’re OK but mom will freak if you don't go [to the hospital]' so I had to go."

The storm knocked over about three dozen trees. The Oxford Township Department of Public Works is in the area cleaning up the debris and trying to reconnect powerlines that were knocked down by the storm.

Officials hope to have the Oxford Furnace Lake area reopened by Friday. Lewis says he will go back to work Friday to help with the cleanup.

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