WOODBRIDGE TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The bad news is that a town employee was at the wrong place at the wrong time and was struck by lighting Wednesday afternoon. The good news is that a New Jersey police officer was nearby and managed to revive the jolted victim.
Eric Baumgartner — an 18-year municipal employee — was painting lines at a soccer field near Iselin Middle School in Woodbridge Township about noon, when he was struck by lightning, FOX 5 New York reported.
Nearby resident Jay Hedey witnessed the traumatic event and said, “I was shocked. I was in my living room when I saw the lightning first. It was like a bomb,” he emphasized. “Then I look out the window, the guy’s right in the middle. He went down.”
Local residents called 911. Fortunately, Officer Robert McPartland was “around the corner.” He responded to the scene and immediately noted that Baumgartner did not have a pulse. Therefore, the officer provided CPR to the jolted victim.
Thanks to McPartland’s intervention, Baumgartner was revived and subsequently transported to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital. He is listed in stable condition.
Neighbor Jessi Singh said, “Oh man, it was scared, it was shocked. … I see the guy out there. The way he no move, nothing.”
McPartland said that Baumgartner’s hands were clenched to equipment when he arrived on scene before he began CPR.
“It was apparent that he was struck by lightning. He was still holding one of the machines. We were able to get that away from him,” McPartland said. “Some burn marks appeared on his hands, so that’s kind of how we were able to determine what happened.”
The officer’s EMT training played a vital role in providing timely treatment.
“We knew we just needed to start compressions to get his heart going again,” McPartland said.
The town employ didn’t begin breathing on his own until he was loaded in the ambulance. Shortly afterward, he became alert and aware of the circumstances as he communicated to first responders.
“He is alert, and aware, he is talking and that’s very good news,” the mayor said. “Right now we have every reason to believe that R.J. McPartland saved (the worker’s) life.”