13-year-old girl in critical condition after lightning strikes near Garfield Park Conservatory

CHICAGO (CBS) — A 13-year-old girl was critically injured when lightning struck Wednesday afternoon at the Garfield Park Conservatory on the West Side.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesperson confirmed the girl was taken to Stroger Hospital of Cook County after lightning struck at the Garfield Park Conservatory, an indoor and outdoor botanical garden.

A series of severe thunderstorm warnings was issued Wednesday afternoon as storms passed through the Chicago area.

CBS 2’s Sabrina Franza reported an ice cream vendor who was working at the park at the time said he was getting ready to pack up for the day when he noticed a family leaving the conservatory in the parking lot, and suddenly hard rain started falling.

That vendor saw the lightning and heard a crack, thinking the family hit a tree, but then saw fire trucks show up and watched the 13-year-old girl get wheeled to an ambulance. 

“We thought it hit a tree. Then we saw an ambulance and knew it was a girl,” said witness Jordan Garrett. “She was 13. She was really small. It’s scary, because it could’ve been me or someone else.”

It was not clear whether the girl was directly struck by lightning and if so, where on her body she was struck.  

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