Soldier, child struck by lightning

September 29, 2009 4:40:28 AM PDT
Fort Bragg officials confirm a woman who was struck by lightning on Friday is a soldier.On Friday, 21-year-old Spc. Rosa V. Sanchez, a personnel clerk at Fort Bragg, and her 18-month-old son were struck in the parking lot of the TJ Maxx in Fayetteville.

Firefighters said she was folding an umbrella to keep her son out of the rain when she was hit and fell to the ground.

Fellow soldier, Spc. James Van Dorn, and another Fort Bragg soldier were also in the parking lot and came running to her rescue.

"When I was about 10 or 15 feet away from her is when I saw she was actually still on fire," Van Dorn said. "I immediately removed my shirt. When I got to her I put her out. Her head was on fire, her shirt, back. While I was putting her out I noticed a little arm and a little leg sticking out from underneath her."

Van Dorn said he gave the child to a bystander and began CPR on the mother.

"Her heart was beating wildly, great heartbeat, but she wasn't breathing what so ever," Van Dorn said."I started CPR about on the third iteration is when she started breathing."

Doctors say lightning is an electrical discharge that can jumble the brain or the heart and causes both of them to stop functioning properly.

"If someone falls down in front of you, the best thing you can do is immediately call for help and then do CPR," UNC Hospital Dr. Charles Cairns said.

Van Dorn said that was exactly what he did.

"Myself and the other gentleman really did what we had to do until medics arrived, until the real heroes showed up," he said.

Sanchez is listed in serious condition at the Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill. Her son is in fair condition.

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