Sheriff: lightning strike kills Florida beach vendor

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FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Authorities say a Florida Panhandle beach vendor has died after he was struck by lightning.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as 22-year-old Zachary Fordem. The Panama City News Herald reports that Fordem was struck Friday afternoon while working near an Okaloosa Island condominium.

Sheriff’s Capt. John Brinkerhoff says three lightning strikes in the area were reported before deputies got the call about Fordem. Paramedics tried to revive him but Fordem was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

There have been five lightning deaths this year in Florida, which typically leads the nation in that category. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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