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City Worker Shocked By Lightning Strike While Talking On Phone

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A city worker is proof that your mother's warning to turn off the TV and stay away from electrical appliances isn't just an old wives' tale.

As CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports, the Streets and Sanitation employee was shocked while talking on the phone during Monday morning's storm and fortunately wasn't seriously hurt.

Co-workers said Catherine Moro was on the second floor of the Streets and San building on the 2300 block of South Ashland Avenue, sitting at her desk.

She was talking on the phone when lightning struck the transformer right outside her window. That's when the building lost power and she fell to the ground.

Witnesses said she was unconscious for a few seconds, but quickly recovered.

"During a lightning, storm lightning will obviously hit electrical equipment and electrical lines. She was on a landline, so there's electrical wire involved," explained Fidel Marquez, Senior V.P. of Customer Operations for Streets and Sanitation.

ComEd crews at the scene explained that the surge of electricity probably traveled through the floor, up the wire of the phone and shocked Moro.

Marquez said it's a reminder of the safety steps businesses and homeowners should practice during a storm.

"From a safety standpoint you should stay away from using appliances. And that's why you should turn off your TV, because lightning can be dangerous," he said.

One more safety reminder from ComEd and your mother: stay away from windows during a storm.

As for Moro, she was taken to UIC Medical Center, where she was checked out and released.

She could not be reached for comment.

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