An intense thunderstorm burst open over the city at around 3 p.m. on Sunday, dumping one to two inches of rain on Dorchester in less than an hour and firing hundreds of lightning bolts, including one that laid down ten men taking shelter after a soccer game in Harambee Park, also known as Franklin Field.
When paramedics arrived at the Talbot Ave scene, one man was in cardiac arrest and three were still unconscious, according to a spokeswoman for Boston EMS, and all had burns on their skin consistent with a lightning strike. Out of the ten taken to area hospitals, seven remain hospitalized and five were still in intensive care as of Monday.
"It's just really bad right now," said Daniel Janito Reyes in a phone interview this week. "There's a lot of families calling me two brothers are in the hospital."
Reyes organizes the El Salvadorean Soccer League that several -if not all - of the victims were part of. "I was under the tree just a half an hour before it hit," he said.
A second league, the Haitian American Soccer League, was scheduled to arrive and begin a match roughly when the storm hit.
The storm also flooded several areas in the neighborhood, including part of Hancock Street, Roseclair Street, and a section of Norfolk Avenue where the water got under and "buckled" the pavement, among other places. Most of the flooding occurred in Dorchester and South Boston, according to Tom Bagley, spokesperson for the Boston Water and Sewer Commission.
"In these cloudbursts the water accumulates dramatically, our drainage system can get full in a hurry," said Bagley. "We try and make sure and tell people to make sure they have pumps, and backflow preventers if they have fixtures below ground-level. You don't get these all the time but when they come they can be nasty."