LOS ANGELES – A woman walking under a tree was struck and killed by lightning, one of thousands of strikes that injured six others as a gusty storm pounded California. Another woman was killed by a falling tree.
Authorities said Tina Bond, 40, was killed by a bolt Wednesday afternoon as she walked along a sidewalk in Fontana, in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles.
Police Sgt. Jeff Decker said the bolt blew out the bottoms of the victim's shoes and hurled some of her clothing 30 feet away.
National Weather Service meteorologist James Oh said there was at least one lightning strike every minute for a couple of hours Wednesday in San Bernardino County, where both deaths and most of the injuries occurred.
Northern California received more than 1,000 lightning strikes from Wednesday night into Thursday morning, the weather service said.
In Butte County, north of Sacramento, firefighters quickly contained dozens of small lightning-sparked fires, said Capt. Scott McLean of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
"It was quite impressive — a lot of lightning going sideways, beside the downstrikes," McLean said.
Up in the San Bernardino Mountains, wind blew a tree onto a car and killed driver Elena Martinez, 31, said Big Bear Lake fire spokeswoman Michelle Caldwell. The coroner's office said the large tree broke off about 30 feet above the ground at about 11 a.m. Wednesday and crushed the driver's side of the Chevrolet Suburban.
Four young men suffered minor burns when lightning hit a chain-link fence and jumped to a rock where they were sitting in the city of San Bernardino, fire officials said.
In San Diego County, a man was hit by lightning as he worked outdoors in San Marcos. He was hospitalized in critical condition. In Riverside County, lightning injured a woman walking near a shopping mall in Cabazon.
Firefighters were working on about 22 small fires in the mountainous San Bernardino Forest on Thursday. Lightning ignited the blazes Wednesday. The largest was contained at 150 acres above the city of Highland.