One Tampa Bay area mother is passing the word that lightning can kill after the death of her son

POLK COUNTY, Fla. - Lightning. It is a wonder of nature that never ceases to awe and amaze, but lest we forget, it can kill.

"I promised him I'd make a difference and tell people about lightning," said Angie Rock.

Angie Rock made that promise to her son James Pinkstaff.

On September 7, 2012, James was struck by lightning outside their home in Polk County. Four days later James would die.

Angie shows off a drawing her son made.

"In this picture, he drew a house. It says, 'me and God. And you and God'" Angie said.

"And in the middle he says it's a cross but it looks like a tree. My son was struck underneath a tree."

Keeping her promise to her son, Angie now warns everyone.

"We can't stop lightning but we can stop from being in danger."

Andrew McKaughan with the National Weather Service says by living in the lightning capital of North America we should all take care.

"Don't stay outside at all, by a tree, under a light pole or power lines, in a field, or on water," McKaughan said.

"None of it is safe. If you're outside you're in danger of getting struck."

The safest place to be is in a building -- but don't touch any electronics. During thunderstorms you should always stay out of the shower and away from all plumbing because the metal pipes easily conducts electricity.

"The average lightning strike has enough power to power a 100 watt light bulb for a whole year," McKaughan said.

Lightning has the power to kill.

And that power is something Angie wishes she never had to learn first hand.

Print this article Back to Top