Texas teen survives lightning strike, recovering at Tampa General Hospital

Hillsborough County

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WFLA) – Barbara Brewer, her husband Jeremiah and children Ashley and Jacob were enjoying a wonderful day on Siesta Key.

The family is visiting the Sarasota area from Fort Worth, Texas, arrived on Tuesday and Thursday was their second day relaxing in the sun and sand. Within the blink of an eye, the enjoyment was over.

Jacob and Ashley Brewer Photos Courtesy of the Brewer family

They saw a storm rolling in and started gathering their belongings and making their way back to the parking area. Barbara says they were all walking in close proximity to one another.

“As we started walking across the beach, there were several people still on the beach, everybody was trying to pack up,” said Barbara Brewer. “The next thing you know we were all on the ground and I had ringing in my ear. And I looked over and my son Jacob and I saw a hole in his shirt where he was hit by lightning. He was down on the ground and foaming at the mouth.”

Jeremiah Brewer saw the flash. “I was walking ahead of them and I saw the flash of light,” Brewer said. “And I could smell the singed air around me and then this instant incredible crack.”

A good samaritan ran to help and began CPR. Jeremiah then picked up his son and attempted to get him to safety or to a shelter. The clock was ticking and he knew he needed to get Jacob help fast.

A Sarasota deputy stopped the group and told them to put Jacob on the ground. He resumed CPR until paramedics arrived.

They first rushed 14-year old Jacob to a hospital in Sarasota and then he was transferred to Tampa General hospital where he is still recovering listed in serious condition.

Doctors told the Brewers, the lightning traveled through the teen’s chest and exited through his foot.

Jacob’s parents say it is amazing he survived such an ordeal. Jeremiah calls it a miracle.

“To me, there’s not doubt in my mind it’s a miracle that he’s alive,” said Jeremiah Brewer. “That he’s been alive every morning now since and he’s breathing and he’s trying to communicate with us through hand gestures.”

Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page for the Brewers as medical bills and other unanticipated expenses are adding up fast.

Barbara Brewer says she is just thankful for all of the people who pitched in to save her son. She also has a warning for tourists who aren’t familiar with how quickly Florida storms can roll in.

“If you decide to make a trip to Florida and if you start to see some clouds in the distance it is a good idea to pack up,” said Barbara, her husband also chiming in with his own advice. “Even if it does seem far off,” said Jeremiah. “Because we could see the storm and it seemed far away and there were still hundreds of people on the public beach.”


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