GILMANTON, N.H. (AP) — With about a 15-minute warning from their base camp, Boy Scouts and their counselors at a remote New Hampshire campground hurriedly gathered under a tarp tied to trees to wait out an approaching evening storm.
Thunder boomed then lightning struck a nearby tree. About 20 minutes later, six of the scouts felt a burning sensation and noticed spidery lines on their legs. The others reported the same symptoms shortly afterward.
After Monday's scare at Camp Bell, a remote campground of the Griswold Hidden Valley Scout Reservation in Gilmanton, most of the scouts were back at camp Tuesday. All had been treated at a hospital. About 30 scouts and counselors were in the group.
Belmont Fire Chief David Parenti, who helped triage the scouts, said they were "incredibly calm" throughout the ordeal.
"No one was screaming or yelling. Whatever we asked them to do, they did," Parenti said Tuesday.
No one was directly hit by the lightning, Boy Scouts spokesman Greg Osborn said.
Camp Bell has no structures in which the scouts could have sought shelter, Parenti said. They were under a canopy when the lightning struck nearby. The scouts were seen by a camp nurse, who advised that they be checked out at a hospital as a precautionary measure.
Parenti said he was most concerned about six of them whose burns involved the chest area. He said at least two of those six, who were hospitalized, have been released.
Parenti said lightning burns typically have an entry and an exit wound, which helped the firefighters and EMTs triaging them to identify whose injury was of most concern.
"What happened was, with some of the kids, you could see the burn come into the hand, up the arm, across the chest and out the other arm," Parenti said. "That's an entrance and exit that crosses the chest, definitely."
The Belmont Fire Department is staffed 24 hours a day and has 12-point heart monitors, which were used to assess the scouts' conditions.