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Lightning Kills Two Homeless Men in Wst Virginia

July 3, 1991

ALDERSON, W.Va. (AP) _ Two homeless men were killed by lightning when they got caught in a sudden storm at a work farm here in southern West Virginia.

″I heard the lightning hit and I ducked,″ said Paul Hess, 40, of Alderson. ″I looked around and saw all the smoke coming from the top of the tree and looked down at the bottom and saw the two guys laying there.″

William Dials, 40, and David Kidd Jr., 60, both of Washington, D.C., were killed Tuesday when they were struck at the John Filigar Catholic Worker Farm, said state police Sgt. H.C. Ryan.

Two other people were treated for minor injuries and three dogs were killed.

″We were just sitting underneath the tree talking and having a good time,″ Hess said. ″We saw the rain coming over the mountains and it started to sprinkle. We said we’ll go inside and then the lightning hit.″

Dials and Kidd were dead when rescue crews reached the farm, but the two other men were fine, said a Summers County Hospital nursing supervisor.

″One fellow was knocked out and the hair on his beard was singed,″ the supervisor said. ″The other fellow didn’t have any injuries. He just got jolted real good.″

Hess said the 14 people who live at the 50-acre farm are mostly homeless people from Washington, including himself.

″It’s a place of hospitality. People that don’t have a place to go can come here and live,″ Hess said. ″If they’re having problems financially or otherwise, they can live here as long as they want to or need to.″

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