Extreme Virginia heat sickens firefighter after lightning strike damages home

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Posted at 7:56 AM, Jul 24, 2022

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A Chesterfield firefighter is recovering from a heat-related injury suffered during a call to a home struck by lightning on Thursday.

Crews responded to a house on Mount Blanco Road in the Chester area around 4:40 p.m. Within a few hours officials reported the fire out, two adults were displaced from the home, and a firefighter was taken to the hospital for non-life-threatening injuries due to the heat.

“Our gear is the problem,” Battalion Chief Doug Reynolds of the Henrico County Fire Department told CBS 6 of the hazards crews face on the scene. “It’s designed to keep the heat out, the moisture out, and the chemicals out. Unfortunately, that keeps our body heat, sweat, and everything else in.”

Reynolds warned all his first responders to “pre-hydrate” on extreme heat days.

“As soon as you get to work, start drinking fluids every day. That’s your key to get ahead of the curve because you just can’t get caught up on a hundred-degree day,” said Reynolds.

When outside for long periods of time, the public is encouraged to pay attention to warning signs of heat illness such as cramps, dizziness, fatigue, and excessive sweating.

“Get in out of the heat, loosen your clothes, drink some water and electrolytes, and use some cool towels before it turns into a true medical emergency,” Reynolds said. “With heat stroke you can lose consciousness and you’re going to have to take a ride with us and get some fluids maybe at the hospital.”

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email to send a tip.