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Lightning strikes woman shopping for groceries

Posted at 1:54 PM, Jul 18, 2013

HOUMA, La. (WWL) – A mother in Louisiana was struck by lightning while grocery shopping earlier this week -- and another woman recently got hit by lightning nearby in the same town.

Lakeisha Brooks, a young mother and two daughters took refuge in a Rouse's grocery store on Grand Caillou Road. While checking out, Lakeisha Brooks moved her cart with her two-year-old in it.

“Right when I pushed her out of the way, it went straight through me,” said Brooks. “It went like from my head down the back of my spine to my left thigh and on my foot.”

Brooks said she was left with blisters on her thigh, the bottom of her foot. She said the tile floor was singed and that she felt stinging and burning.

“When I stepped to the side it hit again and it knocked my shoe off under the register,” she said.

Nearby, Mona Billiot, had the same thing happen a couple of weeks ago.

“I was in the middle of cooking a jambalaya and I was just stirring my pot and all of a sudden I look up by the window and I seen a big flash of lightning come through,” Billiot said.

Billiot's ex-husband, Gerard Pitre, said he took off running when he saw the lightning because he knew his wife was always fearful during severe weather.

Houma police and fire investigated the incident at the store, but said they have never heard of anyone struck by lightning while grocery shopping.

Both women were transported to the hospital. Billiot felt hot, dazed, confused and her heart rate had slowed. Doctors said the plastic handle on that spoon, now marked where her nails melted inward, may have saved her life.

However, Brooks credits another source.

“God gets all the credit for this for me being alive today,” she said.

Houma police believe the lightning came through the sprinkler system in rouses and hit Brooks because she was standing on a metal floor area.

Rouses emailed a statement that reads in part:

"Ms. Brooks' physical condition was the number one priority of our Grand Caillou Road store manager and team members. Our security team immediately secured the area where lightning struck and contacted the Houma Fire Department, which is currently investigating."