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The death toll from a freak weather event outside the White House on Friday continues to rise.
According to reports, a third person has died following a lightning strike near 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that left four people initially in critical condition.
The bolt struck a tree in Lafayette Park directly across from the White House as a storm passed through the nation’s capital Friday evening, officials said. D.C. Metro Police announced Friday that a 29-year-old man had passed away from his injuries following the strike, being one of four victims rushed to hospitals.
Victims James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both also died on Friday; the couple was in D.C. for a visit on the occasion of their 56th wedding anniversary.
WTOP reported that the Muellers had five children, 10 grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.
“Four people have life-threatening injuries after they were apparently struck by lightning near the White House in Washington, D.C., Thursday evening, fire officials say,” NBC News reported Friday. “Medics rushed two women and two men to area hospitals after they were hurt at Lafayette Park across from the White House, D.C. Fire and EMS said.”
“Thunderstorms moved through D.C. and surrounding areas about 6:30 p.m. Severe weather drenched parts of the region after a sweltering day of temperatures in the mid 90s,” the report added.
— DC Fire and EMS (@dcfireems) August 4, 2022
BREAKING: 4 people in critical condition after apparent lightning strike near White Housepic.twitter.com/6YhLHYNDm9
— BNO News (@BNONews) August 4, 2022
“We are saddened by the tragic loss of life after the lightning strike in Lafayette Park. Our hearts are with the families who lost loved ones, and we are praying for those still fighting for their lives,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said following news about the Muellers’ deaths in a statement, NPR reported.
The Daily Wire adds:
Chris Vagasky, a meteorologist and lightning expert who works as an analyst for a company that makes weather instruments, told The Washington Post that there was a “6 stroke flash near the White House that hit the same point on the ground” which means that six separate lightning strikes hit the same exact spot in a fraction of a second.
According to the National Weather Service, the average number of annual deaths recorded from lightning strikes (based on data from 2009 – 2018) is 27.
“Over the last 30 years (1989 – 2018) the U.S. has averaged 43 reported lightning fatalities per year,” National Weather Service reported. “Only about 10% of people who are struck by lightning are killed, leaving 90% with various degrees of disability.”
D.C. Fire and EMS issued a statement thanking the United States Park Police members and Secret Service agents for their help following the strike.
“This statement is being made inside of a vehicle due to was significant storm conditions that are currently taking place in the area,” the spokesman said. “At 6:52pm, DC fire and EMS received a report of a lightning strike in Lafayette Park with multiple patients. When we arrived, we found a total of four patients. There were two adult males and there were two adult females. All four were suffering from critical life threatening injuries.
“We were able to quickly treat and transport all four patients and they were all taken to area hospitals,” the spokesman added. “We want to make note of the fact that uniformed officers from both the United States Secret Service uniformed division, as well as the United States Park Police who witnessed this lightning strike, we want to thank them for immediately responding to the scene and rendering aid to the for injured individuals.”
Some opined that the deadly strike near the White House might be an ominous sign for Joe Biden’s presidency.
On Tuesday, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said during an NY1 three-way debate for New York’s 12th Congressional District against Rep. Jerrold Nadler and attorney Suraj Patel of Biden: “I don’t believe he’s running for re-election,” according to the New York Post.
The question was then put to Nadler, “Should President Biden run again in 2024?” And while he was less direct, he also would not commit to backing Biden, the Democratic Party’s titular leader.
“It’s too early to say,” Nadler responded. “It doesn’t serve the purposes of the Democratic Party to deal with that until after the midterms.”
On Wednesday, Maloney walked back her remarks to a degree but was just as adamant about her prediction.