lightning

MADISONVILLE, Ky. (6/6/14) — Lightning may not strike the same place twice, but it struck the same man at two separate times during Wednesday night's storms.

George Pointer, an employee with the Kentucky Department of Transportation in Madisonville, was called in to work around 7:15 p.m. Wednesday.

“When I arrived at our shop, I got out of the truck to unlock our gate, and while unlocking our gate, lightning hit somewhere really close,” Pointer said. “It was close enough that the surge of the lightning back fed through the fence and lit my world up.”

It was an unimaginably painful experience, according to Pointer.

“It hurt extremely bad,” Pointer said. “Everything went white. It took my breath, and it honestly felt like my heart stopped beating for just a split second.”

Yet it was over in an instant.

“My hands fell off the gate, thank God, and it was over. As quick as it had happened, it was over,” Pointer said.

It took a moment for Pointer to realize what had happened.

“Honestly, for a second, I thought I was dead,” Pointer said.

Pointer was an electrician for many years and has been hit by electricity four or five times before, he said. He has also been tazed while working in criminal justice.

“Those are very painful, but none of them — none of them — compare to the jolt of electricity I got from that gate,” Pointer said. “That one lit my world up. It was the most extremely painful thing I have experienced in my life.”

The shock did not keep Pointer from continuing with his work. After having his pulse taken by a co-worker, he went on to an intersection in town needing attention due to storm damage.

“That intersection was at Main and Arch,” Pointer said. “Once arriving at that intersection, the light was on flash, so we opened the cabinet that works those lights.”

It was while resetting the stoplight around 8:30 p.m. that Pointer was struck a second time.

“Lightning hit again at the Madisonville Police Department and back fed through the ground into our electrical cabinet, and I got shocked again,” he said.

According to Pointer, he continued to work until approximately 10 p.m. when his safety supervisor encouraged him to go to the hospital.

“The doctors and nurses ran a lot of tests,” Pointer said. “Two of them came back abnormal. The doctor explained both were caused by electrical shock.”

Though the jolts lasted only a second, the pain lingers, Pointer said.

“My left arm, my left leg, and the lower left side of my back was hurting really bad,” Pointer said. “My arm and leg still hurt. All of it is muscle pain. It feels like I worked out for six months without ever stopping.”

Pointer said it is important to be as safe in storms as possible.

“Be cautious. Don't take anything for granted when you're outside anywhere around lightning,” Pointer said. “I never would have thought this would have happened.”

At the end of it all, Pointer is glad to be alive.

“Without a doubt I definitely feel blessed,” Pointer said. “I thank the good Lord I was protected that night. It could definitely have been a lot worse than it was.”

Ami Clayton
SurfKY News Reporter
SurfKY News Photo-Video/Ami Clayton

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