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Lightning strike injures golf course employees in North Stonington

Fifteen employees of the Lake of Isles golf course in North Stonington were taken to local hospitals after lightning struck near a building they had sought shelter in during Monday's storm, according to course officials.

No one was directly struck by lightning, said Archie Cart, the course's general manager. The lightning struck close to them, and they were "impacted," he said. All remained conscious and most of them were sent to the hospital as a precautionary measure, he said.

Cart said the employees were in a wooden building on the south, or private, course between holes 4 and 13 when lightning struck.

Cart said they were preparing for a regular day of play on the golf course. They have instructions to seek shelter when bad weather is approaching, and they took shelter in one of three restroom/shelter buildings on the course.

No employees' names were released.

The North Stonington Fire Department, Mashantucket Fire Department and emergency personnel from both departments responded to the course, which is owned by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.

Eleven employees were transported to local hospitals by ambulance, according to Patrick Boucher, director of golf, and four others, who were not showing any signs of injury, were taken by a private vehicle.

Local hospitals reported treating 10 patients. Three of the victims were taken to The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich, Backus spokesman Shawn Mawhiney said. At least two of the patients had injuries serious enough to be admitted, Mawhiney said.

Six victims were sent to The Westerly Hospital, spokesman Nick Stahl said. He said that three had been treated and released and three others were still being evaluated Monday afternoon.

Two victims with minor injuries were sent to the Lawrence & Memorial Hospital in New London, according to L&M spokesman Mike O'Farrell.

In Salem, the canopy over the fuel pumps at the Henny Penny convenience store on New London Road partially collapsed in the torrential rainfall that crossed the region, police said.

The store was open at the time, but state police in Colchester said that there were no gas customers when the canopy collapsed around 8:45 a.m.

The Salem Fire Department also responded. The store was closed after the incident.

In New London, the morning torrent washed out the area beneath a staircase that connects Eugene O'Neill Drive to Water Street.

Public works employees said water rushed across Eugene O'Neill Drive and over the curb onto the side of the staircase at the north end of the police station parking lot. The water penetrated the area beneath the stairs, loosening the stone and sand supporting the staircase. The staircase, which includes two landings, remained intact.

The sand and rock debris ended up strewn along Water Street and had to be collected with a payloader.

The highway crew was planning to refill the crevices with larger rocks and sand to provide more support for the staircase.

Water Street, Howard Street, Pequot Avenue and Thames Street in New London were impassable during the height of the storm.

The storm also knocked out power for 5,500 Norwich Public Utility customers when lightning struck a utility pole. About 5,000 Connecticut Light & Power customers also lost power during the storm.


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