Updated: Two women struck by lightning; one dead

January 11, 2008

AIKEN, S.C.---Two workers at the GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical plant off Highway 1 were outside on break when they were struck by lightning this morning. One of them was killed and the other injured.

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office tells News 12 the women were standing under a tree near a metal picnic table, holding umbrellas, taking a "smoke break" during a thunderstorm.

56-year-old Brenda Baker of Aiken was pronounced dead at 6:14 am.

Baker worked as a packaging operator. She was employed by the Kelly Temp Agency and had worked at the pharmaceutical company for approximately four months.

Another employee, 32-year-old Tabatha Collett of Aiken, was also struck. She survived and was able to call for help. A security guard found the women, and Collett was transported to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta. She is listed in fair condition.

A GlaxoSmithKline spokesperson says the company is concerned about the safety of other employees, so the plant is closed until Monday (January 14).

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