Lightning struck near a crowd waiting for the start of a fireworks show Tuesday, sending 36 people to the hospital for mostly minor injuries.
People leaning against a metal fence and a tent suffered an indirect jolt when the lightning struck the ground nearby, said Fire Chief A.C. Daniels.
None of the injuries appeared to be serious, but a 15-year-old boy with burns, numbness and some amnesia was admitted, said Jeff Hedgepeth, a spokesman for Nash General Hospital in Rocky Mount. Two firefighters were among the injured.
Daniels estimated 4,500 people attended the fireworks display, which went off as scheduled.
“The people setting off the fireworks didn’t even know there were the injuries,” he said.
Castalia is a small rural town about 40 miles northeast of Raleigh.