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Jul 11, 2015 10:53 AM

Marlborough woman struck by lightning suffers burns but survives


MARLBOROUGH - A local woman standing on the porch with her toddler son was apparently struck by lightning last week but survived despite suffering burns and a loss of hearing in one ear.

“All of a sudden, I smelled smoke and I was on the ground,” Kelly Bell, 28, told the Keene Sentinel.

The best they can tell, lightning struck a tree in their front yard, and the charge traveled through a metal dog leash that was attached to the porch before hitting her arm and back on Tuesday.

Her husband, Dan Bell, who watched through the screen door of his house, said even from inside, he was knocked back by the impact.

Then he heard son Logan crying, Kelly calling for help and dialed 911.

A doctor in the emergency room at Cheshire Medical Center had Dan Bell drive his wife to the burn unit at UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass., where she was treated and released.

Bell says doctors in both hospitals said they had never seen a person survive a direct lightning strike like hers. Doctors told her they believe her heart probably stopped for an instant and may have restarted by the force of her hitting the ground.

Bell has a patchwork of dark red bruises on her back and a small wound where the electric charge left her body. She says she feels sore, as if she was hit by a truck or was in a car accident.

The force blew out one eardrum and threw her to the ground, leaving her scraped up but without any serious injuries. Doctors told her she may regain hearing in her ear, but it’s not guaranteed.

The two-year-old has some scrapes and a small burn on his leg, but is otherwise fine.

The family has launched a GoFundMe page asking for help with the unexpected medical expenses.


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