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Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018
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Seffner man killed by lightning strike on Siesta Key

A Seffner man was killed Sunday afternoon in a lightning strike on Siesta Key.

According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, deputies responded after receiving a call around 2:15 p.m. of a person struck by lightning in the 6000 block of Midnight Pass Road.

First responders and lifeguards assisted James W. Barton, 33, and paramedics transported him to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, deputies said.

The lightning strike occurred as a line of powerful storms moved through the region, producing heavy rains and localized flooding in some areas.

According to weather service data from the past 30 years, 45 people on average die from lightning strikes each year nationwide. That same data says an average of nine people die a year from strikes in Florida.

Barton’s Facebook profile showed that he graduated from Tazewell High School in Virginia and then studied at Southwest Virginia Community College. He listed his occupation as a plumbing contractor and posted photos and videos showcasing remodeled rooms he had worked on.

On April 3, he shared a viral video claiming to show lightning striking a waterway.

Times staff writer Justin Trombly contributed to this report.

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Editor’s note: James W. Barton was misidentified as a woman in an earlier version of this story.

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