Tree damages tent, picnic tables after lightning strike

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The NEWS10 ABC anchors received a scare at the Saratoga Race Course Wednesday when a bolt of lightning struck a tree knocking it to the ground.

A large pine tree was struck by a lightning bolt causing it to explode. Pieces of the tree landed up to 100 yards away. The tree crushed picnic tables and the Backyard Dogs ‘N Brews tent.

NYRA security guard Stanley Ralph was standing just ten feet away.

“I was standing right there looking directly at it. It was just a massive explosion,” he said. “I saw the tree blow up. I heard the sounds, and I looked up and wood was going everywhere. It just exploded like somebody had put dynamite in it and blew it up.”

There were no flames or obvious charred marks, but the smell of burning wood was pervasive.

“It was very frightening. I have never been shook up like that in my entire life,” Ralph said. “It absolutely shook the ground. No question about that.”

“I was seeing people running and pointing, and I was running like crazy,” NYRA parking attendant Phillip Anderson said. “I was scared it was going to tip over on me.”

Mother Nature’s fury had impeccable timing. The last race had just ended thirty minutes before.

“Had this happened an hour earlier, it would have been packed,” NYRA member John Durso said. “Clearly timing is everything, but the good news is again no injuries to report here.”

The clean-up began almost immediately. By Thursday morning, there will be new picnic tables, a new Dog ‘N Brews tent and the tree will have been removed.


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