Fire officials warn of lightning strike dangers as summer storms continue

Florida is the lightning capital of America, and it’s extremely dangerous to be outside during a storm.

A boat was even destroyed near Hancock Parkway after being struck by lightning, which started a fire recently.

“Started freaking out, ran around to try to grab a hose and just put it out as much as we could until the firefighters got here,” said Paul Kekahbah, who works at a nearby business.

The boat is now a symbol for dangerous SWFL weather that can turn unpredictable on a dime.

“The flames were shooting a couple of feet in the air and the smoke was even higher than that,” said witness Charlie Lopez.

Lopez says he was heading home when he noticed the smoke and shot drone video of the scene.

“It was literally thick black, you couldn’t see through. It was very, very thick,” Lopez said.

The Cape Coral Fire Department says a situation like that could have easily turned deadly.

“Lightning is a very dangerous situation, particularly here in Florida,” said Andrea Schuch with Cape fire. “There’s on average about 47 deaths from lightning strikes a year and hundreds more that are injured.”

So as summer storms roll into SWFL seemingly every single day, it’s best to remain vigilant and cautious.

“Whenever you hear thunder, the saying is when thunder roars, go indoors,” Schuch said.

“I think it’s important for all of us to respect mother nature. You never know, that could’ve easily been somebody,” Lopez added.

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