This house was struck by lightning about 11:20 a.m. Thursday in 1000 block of Jefferson Court in Gary. One man died after the house caught fire. | Sun-Times Media
Lightning strikes killed a man who was working on a billboard and another man whose home caught fire as a severe storm passed through the Gary area late Thursday morning. A baby was injured in the fire.
Gary Police responded to the first call in the 2700 block of West 27th Avenue near Interstate 80/94 and Clark Road about 11:20 a.m.
The billboard worker was identified as Angelo Santucci, 28, of Hobart, Ind. He sustained multiple burns and was pronounced dead at 12:34 p.m. at Methodist Hospital Northlake campus, according to the Lake County Coroner’s Office.
About 10 minutes after the first call, firefighters were called to a blaze at 1080 Jefferson St., about 5 miles northeast of the billboard. The coroner’s office said Jacquelyn Allen, 45, suffered severe burns in that fire and was pronounced dead at 12:15 p.m.
A 9-month-old baby found in the house was airlifted to University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital, fire officials told WBBM-Channel 2. A report on the baby’s condition was not immediately available.
A neighbor who declined to be identified said a woman and a 5-year-old also lived at the home and that the couple were foster parents.
Other neighbors reported hearing an explosive pop just before the fire.
One neighbor, Tequila Lee, described the couple as friendly. “They had a dog, too. I wonder what happened to it,” the neighbor said.
Storms ripped through Northwest Indiana late Wednesday and early Thursday, dumping one to four inches of rain and leaving as many as 4,000 homes without power. NIPSCO reported power had been restored to all but a handful of customers by 6 a.m. Thursday.
Contributing: Christin Nance Lazerus and Carole Carlson