Victim told family she thought she was on fire -

Victim told family she thought she was on fire

Sherry Hayes told her mother she thought she was on fire after lightning struck a few feet away from where she was trying to seek cover from a storm.

Brenda Rogers says her 50-year-old daughter, Sherry, was still hospitalized late Monday evening but did not suffer serious injuries.

Hayes was part of a St. Louis Parks Department crew working near the Jewel Box in Forest Park when a strong storm popped up shortly before 2 p.m. The crew took shelter in a truck, but medics say Hayes feet still touched the ground. Medics believe lightning struck the ground near Hayes and electricity traveled through the pavement to Hayes' legs.

One of Hayes' co-workers said that Hayes cried out, "I can't feel my legs! My feet are burning!"

The crew helped carry Hayes to the cab of the truck and dialed 911.

Hayes' mother says that Hayes did not suffer burns.

Another man, 54-year-old Byron McElroy, felt a shock after lightning hit the roof of the Vin de Set Bar and Bistro on Chouteau Avenue.

McElroy, a plumber, was working in the basement and says he didn't know storms were in the area when he suddenly felt the strong shock after electricity traveled from the roof of the building through metal pipes.

McElroy was taken to the hospital and released about three hours later.

McElroy says that his fingers, elbow, and left shoulder feel sore. Otherwise, he says he feels like he "won the lotto".

According to the National Weather Service, lightning strikes killed 14 people across the country so far this year. That includes Christian Jones, a mail carrier who was hit by lightning in Jennings on June 15th. She was trying to take cover under a tree:

If you are ever caught in bad weather, try to find shelter in a building (a safe building is one with a roof, walls, and floors).   Stay away from windows and doors. Do not shower or wash dishes and stay off corded phones. Electricity from a lightning strike can travel through wiring and plumbing in homes.

A car with a hard top (not a golf cart or convertible) can be a safe place to seek shelter if you can't get to a building.

Read more safety tips here:

Diana Zoga is a general assignment reporter at News4.  Email Diana at or follow Diana on Twitter:

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