Stricken Scout recounts: One violent lightning flash
Mariano, 15, a Boy Scout from Troop 292 in Hooksett, said he and his fellow scouts at the Daniel Webster Council's Youth Leadership Training at Camp Bell immediately felt the bolt. The electricity traveled to their shelter and even knocked one scout off his feet. Mariano later learned his own foot was burned.
He was one of 23 scouts who suffered burns from the lightning, which struck about 7:30 p.m. as a thunderstorm passed over the camp on Manning Lake. Most of the scouts suffered minor burns to their hands and feet. Many did not know for several minutes that they had small red burns on their body that resemble a spider, said Gerard Boyle, the scoutmaster.
The scouts and their camp counselors performed as they should have in the emergency, and got some hands-on training in dealing with a crisis, Boyle said.
Mariano's mother, Ruth, who is one of the leaders of her son's troop, said she suffered "a very short period of abject terror" when she heard about the lightning strike. After calling area hospitals, she found her son in Franklin Regional Hospital.
He has a burn to his left foot that needs daily care this week, so he won't be going back to the camp this year.
About 400 scouts from around the state between 12 and 16 are attending the camp each week this summer learning leadership skills, scouting officials said.
There were 31 scouts in the shelter when the storm hit, Boyle said. Four of the camp's vehicles were used to take the 23 who complained of burns to the Belmont Fire Station, where a triage station was set up. Ambulances were called from as far away as Alton and Franklin to take the victims to hospitals in Concord, Franklin, Laconia, Wolfeboro and Plymouth.
The Griswold scouting reservation is also home to the Hidden Valley Scout Camp; none of the Hidden Valley campers were affected, officials said.