Lightning strikes school; 9 students shocked

Three of the students who were shocked when lightning struck Grattan Academy in Greenville. (May 12, 2014)

GREENVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) – Nine students were shocked and three of them were hurt when a Greenville school was stuck by lightning Monday morning.

It happened around 8 a.m. at Grattan Academy, which includes grades six through 12, on Jordan Road in Greenville, according to the school’s principal.

Three eighth-grade girls were injured when the lightning struck.

“It was like a big bang,” said Cazzie Barr.

Cazzie and her friend Meghann Ferrall were leaning against their lockers when the lightning hit.

“Kind of like a firework pop and then there was just like a big jolt,” Meghann said.

They said it felt like their backs were burning, as if they had severe sunburn or had touched a hot stove.

The third person who was hurt, Alicia Miller, was shocked when she touched a bathroom sink faucet. She reported tingling and numbness in her arms.

The pain brought the three girls to tears, they said.

“I just stood there for like 10 or 20 seconds straight,” Alicia said. “I was out of it. I didn’t even know what I was doing and I just started crying. I was in hysterics.”

“People could smell us, like we got zapped, and it was horrible,” Cazzie said.

They were picked up from school by their parents and were taken to get medical attention. All three had been released by Monday evening.

“If it would have hit us all like straight on we would have died,” Cazzie said. “Very thankful to be alive.”

The six other students who were shocked didn’t need medical help.

It’s not clear where the lightning strike hit because it didn’t leave an immediately visible mark, the principal said. Some of the electrical systems in the building — like phone an Internet service — were fried, but power was not knocked out.

The Grattan Academy building is 10 years old and meets code requirements, the principal said. However, school officials are looking in to whether any changes need to be made after Monday’s incident. One idea was to look into installing a lightning rod.

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