Think you're safe from lighting inside your home? Think again. A Texas high school student was struck by lightning while opening the fridge. Her dad was also injured and their house was noticeably damaged.
On Memorial Day, Macie Martinez and her parents were taking shelter in their pantry during a tornado warning. Macie then went to the refrigerator to grab a snack – when she was suddenly struck by lightning.
"I hear an explosion and my daughter screaming and the worst scream I had ever heard anybody scream and the house went dark and I look over and she's shaking and screaming," said Misty Villarreal.
Macie's dad had to pull her off the fridge.
"I remember when I was holding on it was the most painful thing I've ever experienced in my whole life. Then, afterwards, I couldn't feel my legs, and I couldn't walk and I was just shaking," Macie said.
Macie's parents rushed her to the hospital. There, doctors found a wound on her back where the electricity appears to have exited her body. Her dad found what looks like burn marks along his arms.
"Later on when we came home from the hospital is when I started showing signs. I didn't even notice. I feel some sort of pain. My right arm gets tingly," said Anthony Villarreal.
A neighbor, who was outside when the lightning struck, told the couple the bolt came from underneath the house and went out through the roof. The exterior of the house had noticeable damage.
Inside the home, the major appliances were fried. Two burn marks are above a mirror in the master bathroom. Sections of the wood flooring downstairs are separated from the foundation.
Macie is still experiencing some numbness in her arm and battling exhaustion. Her doctors are monitoring her liver and kidneys.
"I feel very lucky. Lucky to be sitting here doing this interview today. Blessed. Yes, very blessed," said Macie.
Her new perspective in life comes with a new thought about storms.
"Normally, I'd go outside in the rain, but now it's like ‘Oh my gosh, there may be a storm I need to stay inside. I need to be safe. Stay in bed.’ It's a change," Macie said.
The same goes for her parents.
"Each summer I would go visit my grandmother in West Virginia. Every time a storm rolled in she would unplug everything and we all thought she was crazy. But I will tell you I will be the crazy one now unplugging everything."
According to the National Weather Service, 26 people died from lightning strikes last year. An average of 200 to 300 are injured per year. The Austin University Medical Center Brackenridge treats one patient per year.
Macie's parents plan on installing lightning rods and putting in a surge protector.
They have set up a GoFundMe account for Macie's medical expenses. You can learn more, here.
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