'He just got blasted': Nanoose man unhurt after lightning strike
COURTENAY, B.C. -- A Nanoose couple are now ready to purchase a lottery ticket after one of them was inside a vehicle that was struck by lightning Wednesday afternoon.
Wendy Mazzei says her husband Terry had just arrived in the parking lot of the Fairwinds Wellness Club, turned off the ignition of his truck and was about to open the door when lightning struck.
“He just got blasted,” Mazzei says. “He said it was a huge explosion and sound. It was pretty crazy. I’m so thankful that he’s here to tell me about it.”
Mazzei says Terry was uninjured by the incident, but was understandably shaken.
“His ears were kind of ringing, it was the right front passenger tire that blew out, so his right ear was a bit sore and he had a bit of a headache, but other than that he was good, thank goodness,” she says.
She says they don’t want to think about what could have happened had Terry actually been outside when the event occurred.
“We like to think that his father was watching over him,” Mazzei says. “His father passed away in 2016 and this is his father’s truck that he drives and he has a picture of his father in the visor right above where he drives and so we like to think that his father was watching over him.”
There is one person connected to the Mazzei family that is impressed by Terry’s ordeal.
“Our grandson thinks this is pretty cool; he thinks (Terry) might have super powers now and he’s calling (Terry) Flash,” Mazzei says.
Mazzei says when the tree behind her husband’s pickup was struck, the lightning travelled down to his pickup as well as a GMC Sierra owned by Wellness Club employee Cathrine Eriksson that was parked two stalls over.
"When the lightning strike hit us, which was obviously right outside our building, my first concern was for our work computers,” Eriksson says. “Unbeknownst to me, my truck was the one that was actually struck."
Her truck had to be towed for servicing and won't start, but her wipers and brake and backup lights won't shut off.
She says her husband was dealing with an insurance adjuster over the damage and indicated that she'd never seen anything like it before in her 16 years.
According to meteorologist Armel Castellan, of Environment and Climate Change Canada, vehicles offer a “next best tier of shelter” in thunderstorms if you can't seek shelter inside.
"Because they're insulated from the ground, there's not going to be a way for the static charge to make its way through the vehicle,” Castellan says. “Often that can be a good insulator."
Castellan says there were approximately lightning 40 strikes on Wednesday in the Lantzville/Nanoose Bay Area. Half were cloud to cloud strikes and 18 were cloud to ground.