9 people at Grant Family Farms in Wellington struck by lightning; Firefighters dispatched

WELLINGTON, Colo. - Nine farm workers working the fields at Grant Family Farms in Wellington were injured by a lightning strike Thursday afternoon, authorities said.

Larimer County sheriff's spokesman John Schulz said the emergency medical call came in about 3:22 p.m. Thursday.

Wellington Fire Chief Gary Green said nine people were transported to local hospitals.

Two were critically injured. "They were unable to move and were semi-conscious," Green said. They also had had muscle weakness and tingling in their hands and feet.

Four other workers had serious injuries and three others had minor injuries, Green said.

Several of the workers reportedly took cover under a work vehicle.

He said a fleet of ambulances from multiple agencies were needed to transport the injured to Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins and Medical Center of the Rockies in Loveland.

The identities of those involved have not been disclosed.

"Everybody coming in at once tells you it is what we call a group strike, and it got a large group of people in a small area, either as a direct or indirect hit from the lightning," said Dr. Jamie Teumar with the Medical Center of the Rockies. "There are certain things you want to avoid in a lightning storm -- you don’t want to be near metal, you don’t want to be near water, because those are excellent conductors of electricity and going to bring it right to you."

The farm has had recent financial troubles and appears to be closing. Around the same time as the storms struck on Thursday, the farm posted on its Facebook page, "With a heavy heart, we make this announcement. It is so sad that after one of our better years ever, that 61 years of local, family farming will be torn apart" and linked to an auction site that listed nearly all of its farm equipment.

The farm filed for bankruptcy six years ago and filed for liquidation in January.

The farm is located at 1020 W County Rd 72 in Wellington.

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