Couple ‘extremely shaken’ after truck hit by lightning on southeastern Manitoba highway

A couple travelling through Manitoba are shaken, but unhurt, after the pickup truck they were driving was struck by lightning on Monday afternoon.

Just before 1 p.m., the Richer Fire Department were called to Highway 1 East for a vehicle fire.

Those aren’t especially uncommon around Richer — a community 55 kilometres southeast of Winnipeg — says David Reith, the fire department’s deputy chief.

But this wasn’t a simple fire.

“It was actually a vehicle that had been struck by lightning, which was extremely unusual for us,” said Reith, who was part of the crew that responded to the fire.

The fire was mostly out by the time crews arrived, but the truck was a sight to behold.

David Reith can’t believe that lightning struck a truck going 100 kilometres per hour on Highway 1. (Richer Fire Department/Facebook)

“The interior is completely gone and the windshield … it’s completely, completely ruined, unfortunately,” Reith said in a Tuesday interview with CBC Manitoba’s Radio Noon.

Witnesses took advantage of the recent rain and filled buckets and coolers with water from the ditch to put the fire out while they waited for firefighters to arrive.

The couple in the vehicle weren’t hurt.

“They’re totally OK. I mean, other than they were obviously extremely shaken and scared,” Reith said.

The deputy chief says it’s strange that the bolt of lightning hit the truck, considering it was going at least 100 kilometres per hour.

“I’ve heard of vehicles that have been struck when they’re parked, or buildings or trees or hydro poles or transformers, things like that. They’re inanimate and they’re sitting there,” Reith said.

“This is a moving object that’s travelling down the highway and you get zapped by lightning. I think that’s why this has become such a bit of a big deal.”