Lightning strike may have killed construction worker in Seminole

SEMINOLE, Fla. - The Pinellas County Sheriff's Office is investigating whether lightning may have been a factor in a construction worker's death in Seminole on Wednesday.

Agustin Navarrete-Guerrero, 40, was working on the construction of townhomes in the Bayou Grande community in Seminole, according to deputies.

Navarrete-Guerrero, originally from Mexico, has worked for JM Stucco as a plasterer for the past six months. According to his boss, Mercy Iturriaga, when a storm rolled through the area Wednesday afternoon he told his coworkers he was going to go roll up the windows on his Ford Explorer.

Daniel Ladonna, who lives in a neighboring townhome, just happened to see him when he looked outside.

"I didn't think anything of it and then all of a sudden there was this loud crack of thunder," Ladonna recalled. 'The person died in our backyard."

When Navarrete-Guerrero did not return, his roommate and coworker went to look for him, Iturriaga said. He was found lying near his SUV face down in the muddy water.

Deputies say fellow workers called 911 and dragged him to a neighboring garage where they attempted CPR to no avail. Seminole Fire Rescue responded to the scene where he was pronounced dead.

The Sheriff's Office believes he may have been struck by lightning.

"He was surrounded by a puddle of water. It doesn't appear that it would have been a direct hit, but maybe perhaps some electrocution, some conduction of energy through his system," Pinellas County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda said.

The possibility of a sudden medical issue is also under investigation. However, those who knew him say he appeared very healthy.

Iturriaga said he was the type of guy everyone could count on.

"He wasn't only a worker. He was considered a friend," she said. "He was like family to this company."

The Medical Examiner's Office will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of his death.
 

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