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3 roofers recovering after lightning strike

Lighting hit roof of home under construction in Mandarin

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Three men in their 20s were injured when they were struck by lightning Thursday afternoon while working on the roof of a home under construction in Mandarin, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.

It happened about 3 p.m. on Marilyn Anne Drive, just off of Clydesdale Drive West near Losco Road. 

According to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office report, Melsar Lopez, Gomez Martinez and Salatiel Vasquez and were hit hit by lightning. Vasquez fell off the roof after he was struck. Workers brought Martinez and Vasquez off the roof while others performed CPR on Lopez until rescue personnel arrived.

All three were taken to Orange Park Medical Center. On Friday morning, Vasquez remained in critical condition. Lopez and Martinez were in stable condition.

A fourth man on the roof at the time was not injured.

"It hurts because I've been watching this," said Hope Combs, who lives near the new Carter Hall subdivision. "I've been watching the same fellows the whole time. Most of the time they're on the roof. I wave. They wave."

Combs and other neighbors told News4Jax they're upset, and they're sending well wishes to the men injured

"I don't know them personally, but I know that every one of them guys works so hard -- even on the weekends," Combs said. 

According to the National Weather Service, the odds of a person being struck by lightning in their lifetime is one in 13,500. But The Weather Authority Chief Meteorologist John Gaughan said the chance is much higher in Florida, where the highest number of lightning fatalities occur.

"It was devastating and I live right over there. The odds of people working and then getting struck by lightning," said Ryan Babadi, who lives in the area. "I want to thank them for helping because a lot of people do jobs in offices, and they don't go and sit outside for however many hours a day and do that hard work, so thank you."

Babadi and his brother, Behn, said they're counting their blessings.

"It's kind of scary to know it could have been us if we were here at the right time," Behn Babadi said.

In addition to the Sheriff's Office, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will be investigating the injuries.