Thursday, 15 June 2023 14:41
WOODBRIDGE TWP., NJ — A public works employee is lucky to be alive thanks to a police officer's swift action after the worker was struck by lightning in New Jersey.
It happened at Iselin Middle School in Woodbridge Township just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, when weather radar images showed a thunderstorm brewing over the area.
Eric Baumgartner was repainting lines on the school's football field when he was struck by lightning.
The attack was heard miles away.
“It was like a bomb, a very big bomb,” said Iselin resident Jay Heday. “Then through the window I saw the man fall, face down on the floor.”
Baumgartner's co-workers called 911 to report the emergency.
Woodbridge Police Officer Robert “RJ” McPartland, a three-year veteran of the department and a certified EMT assigned to nearby JFK High School, arrived on the scene within minutes.
He found the 39-year-old worker unresponsive and without a pulse.
McPartland began giving chest compressions, and Baumgartner's pulse returned.
Baumgartner was conscious and alert as he was transported by ambulance to the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick.
He was listed in stable condition, and Eyewitness News was told his wife and several co-workers were by his side.
Baumgartner is an 18 year veteran of the Woodbridge DPW and a current Parks Division employee.
He is expected to make a full recovery.
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