Lightning strike kills 1, injures another

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UPDATE: The man who died has been identified as Brad Cox, 27, of the town of Abrams.


OCONTO COUNTY –  A 27-year-old man was killed and another man critically injured when a bolt struck a tree they were working in Sunday evening in the town of Morgan in Oconto County.

"It could’ve been us maybe. It was definitely in the area,” said Mike Rusnak.

Rusnak and his wife were outside grilling when a small storm hit.

“[The cloud] was tiny, very tiny. It looked like it was less than a quarter mile wide,” Rusnak said.

He lives a few houses down from where the lightning struck.

“You could feel it. The lightning struck and it made a loud crack. We knew it was close but we didn’t think too much of it,” Rusnak said.

That’s until he heard sirens about 10 minutes later.

“We received a 911 phone call from a female. She looked outside and saw her boyfriend on the ground. First responders arrived and found him breathing. Upon further checking a second male was found,” said Mike Jansen, Oconto County sheriff.

Officials say the two men were building a child’s tree house.

“We have evidence of the lightning strike based upon destruction to the tree itself plus there’s rather significant injuries that are associated with lightning strikes that we have found so there’s really no reason to proceed with an autopsy,” said Al Klimek, chief medical examiner for Oconto County.

As for Rusnack, he says next time he’ll keep a closer eye on the sky.

Officials are still not identifying the two men.