Santa Fe park closed following lightning strike

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SANTA FE, N.M. — An abnormal thunderstorm last week left behind an even more unexpected trail of damage that will take weeks to fix.

Los Milagros Park in Santa Fe is closed due to damage to the sidewalk caused by a lightning strike.

Joey Montoya, who lives nearby, said he didn’t reailze until the next morning just how close the lightning struck – and how many neighbors felt the impact.

“The whole house shook, a lot of our artwork and picture frames fell off the wall,” Montoya said. “It blew – actually, pushed – doors open, and the covers on security alarms actually popped off.”

Skyler Nielsen, the city’s Parks Operations manager, said lightning strikes are fairly common at Santa Fe’s altitude, but not like this.

“I think they actually described it to them that, “Hey, I think someone set off a bomb in Los Milagros Park,'” Nielsen said.

According to Nielsen, workers who have been with the parks department for 30 years said they had never seen anything like this.

“We see tree strikes every year, and this is the first time it’s done something like that to a sidewalk,” Nielsen said.

Montoya said it’s good it was the sidewalk that got hit, rather than anyone or anything that’s usually in the park.

“These massive pieces of concrete flung across the park – you just had to be in the vicinity t get hit,” Montoya said. “So thankfully, no one was here.”

The city will have to cut down a tree at the park to make room for the new sidewalk, since the tree’s roots are in the way. The city will plant two new trees in the fall.

Officials said the sidewalk will go in next month.