Sarasota woman, 50, killed by lightning strike

Crystal Clark reports

- Fierce storms rolled through the Bay Area Friday evening and took a woman's life when she was stuck by lightning.

The Sarasota County Fire Department said crews went to Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in the 2500 block of Cocoanut Avenue Friday around 5:30 p.m. for reports of a lightning strike that caused a small fire. When they got there, they found a 50-year-old woman had been struck by lightning. 

Officials said she died near a gazebo. The think she was walking from one gazebo over to another, taking shelter from the rain. Before she could make it to the next spot for cover, she was struck by lightning.

Sarasota officials said the woman may have been homeless. She had not yet been identified, as they were trying to notify her next-of-kin. 

The park is known as a popular spot for the homeless population to sleep. Some who spoke to FOX 13 confirmed the woman who died was homeless. 

Her few belongings were left behind in the park; a bicycle and bags of clothing were still sitting under the gazebo, steps away from where she was struck. A scorched area could also be seen on the concrete. 

FOX 13 Chief Meteorologist Paul Delegatto confirmed this is the seventh deadly lightning strike in Florida this year.

The fire department put out the fire. No other injuries were reported. Officials were not sure who called 911 for help.

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