MADISON - A mother and child were electrocuted when severe storms moved through Madison Wednesday afternoon. A third person, who is being called a hero, was killed trying to help. It happened during a heavy thunderstorm. A mother and her child were waiting for a bus on N. Sherman Ave. As the bus approached, lightning hit a power pole and caused an electric line to fall to the ground. The wire landed in a flooded portion of the curb, which was in deep water. The mother and her child were electrocuted. Another small child standing to get on the bus tried to enter the water, but was shocked. A man on the bus saw what happened and got off the bus to help. He was also was electrocuted. The bus driver also tried to help by exiting the bus, but was shocked and fell back into the bus. Police said both the second child and bus driver were taken to the hospital and are expected to recover. Other passengers stayed on the bus and were not injured. Police and fire crews arrived on the scene quickly, but could not help the victims until the power to the line was turned off. Madison Police spokesperson Mike Hanson told TMJ4's Charles Benson “The tragedy in all of this is you can’t rush into something that’s electrical because other people will perish as well.” The live wire was so hot it, left burn marks in the sidewalk. One eyewitness says it all started with a bolt of lightning. “It was so quick like boom, boom, boom, boom!. It was crazy,” Derrick Williams said. “All you could see was smoke everywhere and then three minutes later I saw smoke and fire and they were still lying on the ground.” The victims' names weren't released pending notification of relatives. The incident happened about 4:15 p.m. during a downpour that produced 2.2 inches of rain in an hour. "All of a sudden I heard a big crash," said Shirley Martell, 53, who was coming out of a Walgreen Drug Store nearby. "The bus was smoking from the back end. I thought the tires were on fire at first." National Weather Service meteorologist Rusty Kapela described the deaths as "indirectly related" to the lightning, since the electricity that killed the three apparently came from the downed power line, not the lightning strike. "It's obviously weather-related," he said. "If the water hadn't been there, nothing would have happened to these people, and if the lightning hadn't been there, nothing would have happened either." The intersection of Sherman and Northport in north Madison was closed after the incident, leading to a traffic backup of about two miles. The storm hit with strong winds and downpours, temporarily knocking out power to 1,800 customers in that area of Madison, said Steve Kraus, spokesman for Madison Gas & Electric Co. It was part of a series of storms that swept across the state, bringing winds clocked as high as 78 mph and rain that caused flash flooding on top of the flood problems already being experienced in parts of southern Wisconsin. The strong winds knocked down tree branches and took power lines with them. Brian Manthey, spokesman for the Milwaukee-based We Energy, said there were more than 25,000 utility customers without power by late afternoon in an area of southeastern Wisconsin from Fort Atkinson to Lake Michigan, and crews were working to get electricity restored. A gust of 78 mph was recorded at 5:31 p.m. east of Timmerman Field in the Brown Deer area on Milwaukee's northwest side, the weather service said. Also, a tree toppled by the storm fell across state Highway 83 near Hartford in Washington County. Kapela said the storm activity was extremely widespread as it moved through the region. "It's several families or a series of clusters, many, many clusters of storms," he said. The weather service had a flash flood watch posted for parts of southern Wisconsin Wednesday night into early Thursday. More showers and storms were predicted Thursday before ending in the northwest Friday and over the entire state Saturday.
|Liveleak on Facebook|