Man Struck By Lightning Leaves Hospital

Lightning Strike Occurred Friday At Adams County Fairgrounds

A man struck by lightning Friday while leaning up against a tree in Adams County is out of the hospital

"It was Kaboom! And a big flash," said Chip Wiman after he walked out of St. Joseph's hospital in Denver Saturday afternoon. "I'm surprised I'm up and walking, actually."

Wiman told 7NEWS he was initially upset that organizers at the high school running competition had called for a weather delay, due to visible lightning.

"I thought, 'What a bunch of weenies. You know, let's get this thing over with. It's just rain'. And, uh, I have a profoundly different point of view now," Wiman said.

"The lightning struck the tree and used him as a conductor and went through his body and went through his feet," said Brighton Fire spokesman Sgt. Terrance O'Neill on the scene at the Adams County fairgrounds Friday.

In fact, 7NEWS saw several burns and scrapes on Wiman's body, with scrapes to his right elbow back and buttocks appearing to be the most serious.

Wiman said his buttocks was touching the tree at the time.

"If I had been resting my arm it could've traveled through my heart. If I had been resting my head, I would have, my brain would be fried right now," Wiman said. "I could not move my feet for 15 or 20 minutes. I was, at that point, concerned that I'd been paralyzed."

One of his five kids, Matt Wiman, said the family is relieved.

"He's so lucky and blessed and we're so amazed that he survived something like that," said Matt Wiman. "We're so thankful."

He said his family couldn't be happier with the outcome.

"You know, like you think, life is so precious you want to just enjoy everyday, every minute," Matt Wiman said.

Chip Wiman was at the meet to watch his 15-year-old daughter, an Arvada West student, compete.

Runners were gathered at the starting line when weather moved in and the race was briefly suspended. About 200 people took shelter under a picnic pavilion, while Wiman stood just a few feet away, under the tree.

Chip Wiman's daughter was walking over to her father, to tell him to get out from under the tree, when the lightning struck.

"So my poor daughter had to see this whole thing happen," Wiman said. "It's just one of those life lessons and I don't seem to learn them easy."

Chip Wiman is a preschool teacher at Harrington Elementary in Denver Public Schools.

The cross country invitational was hosted by Horizon High School, but students from across the state competed. The meet was eventually canceled.

According to the National Weather Service, since 1959, Colorado is ranked #4 in the U.S. for fatal lightning strikes when weighted for population, with New Mexico, Wyoming, and Arkansas ranked 1-3.

Print this article Back to Top