• Two men and two women remain critical following a lightning strike in Lafayette Park
  • A witness said the strike sounded like a bomb
  • Park Police will investigate to determine the exact cause of injuries

Washington D.C. -- Four people were hospitalized Thursday evening with critical injuries following a lightning strike in Lafayette Park, which sits right across the street from the White House, D.C. fire officials confirmed.

DC Fire and EMS tweeted about the incident, later providing an update about the victims. "Update Lafayette Park lightning strike. #DCsBravest transported 2 adult males & 2 adult females to area hospitals. All had critical life threatening injuries."

"We were able to quickly treat and transport all four patients. They were all taken to area hospitals. We want to make note of the fact that uniformed officers from both the United States Secret Service Uniformed Division as well as the United States Park Police who witnessed this lightning strike. We want to thank them for immediately responding to the scene and rendering aid to the four injured individuals," D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said in a statement.

"Trees are not safe places," Maggiolo added. "Anybody that goes to seek shelter under a tree, that's a very dangerous place to be."

A witness described the lightning strike as "massive."

It shook the whole area. Literally like a bomb went off, that's how it sounded," the person said, reported Washington Post.

Park Police will investigate the incident to confirm the actual cause of the injuries sustained by the victims. The National Weather Service (NWS) had issued severe storm warnings for most of the Capital Beltway area between 6.30 p.m. and 7.15 p.m. ET.

The NWS Baltimore-Washington's Twitter page issued a flash flood warning for areas including Washington D.C., Arlington in Virginia and Chillum in Maryland until 1.15 a.m. ET Friday.

About 20 people lose their lives annually in lightning strikes, hundreds end up injured and some survivors endure lifelong neurological damage, NWS data shows. Last year, 10 men and one woman died in such incidents. The highest fatalities in lightning-related incidents in the past decade were recorded in 2012 when 29 people (26 men and 3 women) died. Nine people have already been killed in similar incidents this year.

Representation. Lightning strikes. Pixabay