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Four people are fighting for their lives after being struck by lightning outside the White House during a severe thunderstorm.
Two men and two women suffered serious injuries after being struck in Lafayette Park, less than 500 feet (150 m) from President Joe Biden‘s official residence in Washington DC.
Members of the United States Secret Service were deployed to provide emergency assistance to the park due to its proximity to the White House.
Lightning struck near a tree a few meters from the fence surrounding the presidential residence and offices.
The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department was called to the scene around 6:52 p.m. local time Thursday evening.
Spokesman Vito Maggiolo released a statement inside his car due to “significant storm conditions”.
“All four victims suffered serious life-threatening injuries,” he said.
“We were able to quickly treat and transport all four patients and they were all taken to area hospitals.”
Mr. Maggiolo thanked the United States Secret Service and the United States Park Police for immediately responding and helping the four people.
They have not yet been named and it is unclear if they knew each other.
Lafayette Park is a seven-acre public space north of the White House that is especially popular with visitors during the summer months.
A flash flood warning was issued for the District of Columbia following the incident.
The severe storm swept across Washington as temperatures soared above 32.2C (90F) – but high humidity levels meant the heat was compared to 37.8C (100F) .
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