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Sheffield man recounts close encounter with lightning strike

Marla Verbosky was inside her Sheffield home when she heard a sound she said was “the worst noise you ever heard.”

Verbosky said her husband William, 71, was around the pair’s garage when lightning struck near him Wednesday afternoon as a storm moved through.

“It was about 2 feet from me,” her husband said. “I could’ve reached out and touched that bolt. It was about 3 inches around and went right in front of my eyes. It went straight across, not down.”

When Verbosky heard the sound, she knew something wasn’t right. The sound was so stunning, one of Verbosky’s neighbors thought one of her trees had been hit.

“The noise was just unbelievable,” Verbosky said. “The ground shook. I knew it hit here — I just felt something. It was too close.”

Verbosky’s husband entered the home and his face was “bright red” and he was shaking, she said. She asked if he was all right, and the fact he was walking answered that question. She then took his blood pressure, which was very high.

She called the health clinic in North Warren, who then advised her to call 911 to get her husband medical attention. Sheffield Fire Department responded to the call.

“They didn’t take him over to the hospital,” Verbosky said. “He has to rest and not do too much. They said if he gets worse, call them again or take him to the hospital.”

Her husband did not suffer any burns to his feet or hands, although his eyes were watering and both her and her husband’s blood pressure were heightened as a result of the close strike.

Verbosky believes the lightning struck the ground since nothing caught on fire. However, the rain from the storm has flooded Verbosky’s front room.

“I’ve lived here for 30 years and never got flooded in the front,” Verbosky said. “My neighbor is flooded.”

Sheffield was among the many locations impacted by Wednesday’s storm.

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