Thursday, June 26th, 2008
By Margie Wuebker
Man hit by lightning
Montezuma camper was adjusting awning
A longtime camper at Kozy Kampground near Montezuma remains in critical condition today at Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton after reportedly being struck by lightning when storms packing gusty winds, rumbling thunder and pelting rain moved through the area Wednesday night.
Jimmey Komes, a 60-year-old Franklin resident, was outside attempting to roll up awnings at his camper when the accident occurred shortly before 8:30 p.m. Sandra Komes told the Mercer County Sheriff's Office her husband had completed work on one side and headed to the other side when she heard a loud boom.
He failed to answer her call and she went to investigate, finding him lying face down on the ground. One of the grandchildren spending the day with the couple called 911.
Campground manager Sandy Mast said first responders from the Montezuma area seemed to appear out of nowhere.
"The first responders worked over Jimmey but were not able to revive him on the scene," Mast told The Daily Standard. "It did not look good when the ambulance left."
Montezuma Fire Chief Mitch Klosterman was one of the first responders on scene.
"He had a slight pulse and he was barely breathing," Klosterman said. "Then he went into cardiac arrest and we started CPR. Thankfully, he's still alive."
The Mercer County 911 log indicated the rescue unit was C4 or "running hot," a designation reserved for serious cases in need of immediate medical attention. Klosterman said medics on board re-established a pulse en route to Mercer County Community Hospital in Coldwater.
Komes received treatment in the emergency room before being transferred aboard a CareFlight emergency helicopter to Miami Valley.
Mast said the prayers of everyone at Kozy Kampground are with the Komes family. She called them seasonal campers who had come regularly for the past 20 years or so.
"This is the second lightning strike in the Montezuma area in the past month," Klosterman said. "I think the time has come to start talking about storm safety. Being outside is not a good idea during a storm. These kinds of accidents can be prevented."
A Hecht's Landing resident was injured June 6 by what utility company employees call overflash from a lightning strike. It occurred as he finished securing the home of his father-in-law and mother-in-law as storms buffeted the area.
Tim Young, 41, 8583 state Route 219, received a shock that dropped him to the ground after setting his stainless steel coffee mug on the hood of a pickup truck and reaching for the door handle. Young and his wife, Mitzie, were told lightning apparently hit a line at an unspecified location and then traveled through a cable television line until it arced to the CB antenna atop his truck.
He was treated then released at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital in St. Marys and has returned to work as plant manager at Brookside Wood Products.
Numerous reports of storm damage were received by 911 dispatchers between 7:15 and 11:03 p.m. A motorist alerted authorities of a funnel cloud in the area of state Route 707 near the St. Marys River at 7:40 p.m. He observed rotation in the menacing clouds, adding a funnel-like shape dipped down and then climbed again. There also were unconfirmed reports of a possible tornado in the Montezuma area.
Lightning reportedly struck several homes although there were no reports of serious damage. Utility company personnel and property owners faced the task of repairing downed lines and tree limbs.
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