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Workers feel numb after lightning bolt hits tree near shop

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jul 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-29 21:57:24-04

DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. – When a lightning bolt struck a tree outside Gary's Automotive, it was too close for comfort for the men working inside Tuesday afternoon.

In fact, Gary Groux and Ronnie Pulley said they did not just see the lightning, they felt it. The powerful strike shook the building and left them rattled.

Lightning bolt hits pine tree outside Dinwiddie County garage.

Lightning bolt hits pine tree outside Dinwiddie County garage.

A surveillance camera captured the momentary flash before the lightning bolt engulfed a pine tree.

"It shook this building,” Ronnie Pulley with Gary's Automotive said.

Gary Groux said he felt a “violent explosion” and saw a “great big tree of fire.”

At first, the workers thought it just another summer thunderstorm.

“I'm right here, next thing you know, flash, and at the same time, this tremendous boom,” Groux said.

Gary Groux

Gary Groux

While the blast only lasted a mere matter of seconds, it had a lasting effect.

"It was just a big boom. The next thing I know, I felt kind of tingly all over,” Ronnie Pulley said. “My jaw went numb. It was pretty violent."

Groux’s left arm also went numb. But inside his office, the jolt knocked all the photos off the wall.

Additionally, the jolt sent part of a nearby fence post flying nearly 50 feet. A day later, those pieces of wood remained scattered in the back lot.

fencepost

The damaged fence post.

"If you look at the video I slowed down, you can see the wood, just being showed over this whole area,” Groux explained.

While more storms are expected, as is the norm for this time of year, the workers at Gary's Automotive hope lightning will stay away.

"It was intense," Pulley said. "I don't need to live through that again."

While the lightning strike did knock pictures off the wall, the jolt surprisingly did not damage any of the shop’s electronics.

Groux does not think the pine tree will survive.