Man dies days after being struck by lightning in New Smyrna Beach, family says

A man who was struck by lightning in New Smyrna Beach last week died Saturday morning after spending days fighting for his life in the hospital, his family said.

Julio Ceasar Lopez, 27, was reportedly mowing a lawn in the Tymber Trace neighborhood when he was struck Tuesday, July 19, officials said. He did not have a pulse and was not breathing.

WOFL Julio Vasquez struck by lightning

His cousin, Luiz Vasquez, said he and Lopez were finishing up their last landscaping job of the day as storms started to roll in. As they rushed to finish, Julio began trimming near a Palm tree.


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"The lightning struck, and he was right next to it," Vasquez said, who was 20 feet away when the lightning struck. Doctors believed the charge ran down the tree and into the ground. It then struck Lopez's foot and charged right through his body. 

Lopez had stopped breathing so Vasquez and a neighbor jumped in to perform CPR. Vasquez said his cousin went 20 minutes without oxygen before being revived.

He had been on life support at Halifax hospital. 

A GoFundMe and a Venmo account (@cristaltlopez) was created prior to his death for anyone willing to help them during this difficult time. 

How to stay safe during a storm

The National Weather Service shared the following ways to stay safe during a storm:

  • When thunder roars, go indoors.
  • Do not take shelter under a tree or under any construction equipment like tractors or bulldozers.
  • Get out of the water and get off the beach.  Water is a conductor for electricity and can seriously injure someone if struck.
  • Avoid contact with electrical equipment or cords and do not unplug cords during the storm.
  • Do not shower, bathe, do laundry or dishes until after the storm has passed.
  • Avoid open fields and exterior windows.
  • Protect your pets by bringing them inside during a storm.