'It was like a bomb': New Jersey worker struck by lightning revived by hero officer

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Thursday, June 15, 2023
Worker struck by lightning revived by hero officer
A Woodbridge, NJ worker struck by lightning at Iselin Middle School was revived by a responding police officer.

WOODBRIDGE TWP., N.J. -- A public works employee is lucky to be alive thanks to the quick actions of a police officer after the worker was struck by lightning in New Jersey.

It happened at Iselin Middle School in Woodbridge Township just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, as weather radar images showed thunderstorms popping up in the area.

Video from the scene shows the moment lightning strike the soccer field in New Jersey.

Eric Baumgartner was repainting lines on the school's soccer field when he was struck by a single bolt of lightning.

The strike was heard for miles around.

"It was like a bomb, a huge bomb," said Iselin resident Jay Heday. "Then out of the window I saw the guy go down, flat on the floor."

Baumgartner's co-workers called 911 to report the emergency.

Woodbridge Police Officer Robert "RJ" McPartland, a three-year veteran of the department and certified EMT who is assigned to nearby J.F.K. High School, arrived on the scene within minutes.

He found the 39-year-old worker unresponsive and without a pulse.

McPartland began administering chest compressions, and Baumgartner's pulse returned.

Baumgartner was conscious and alert as he was transported by ambulance to Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.

He is listed in stable condition, and Eyewitness News is told his wife and several co-workers are by his side.

Baumgartner is an 18-year veteran of the Woodbridge DPW and current Parks Division employee.

He is expected to make a full recovery.