A Bronx boy killed by a bolt of lightning on Orchard Beach a week after he and his twin sister celebrated their 13th birthday was remembered Friday as a sweet child always eager to help neighbors.
Carlos Ramos succumbed to his injuries at Jacobi Medical Center a few hours after the Thursday afternoon lightning strike. The teen and several other children were on the sand of the popular Bronx beach when the violent storm swept through the area.
“I raised great kids,” said the boy’s heartbroken father, Jeffrey Ramos.”My kids are awesome.”
He said he couldn’t believe that such a fun outing could end in tragedy.
“It’s just crazy,” he said.
Carlos was well-liked in the neighborhood, friends said.
“He was the sweetest little boy ever,” longtime neighbor Cleo, 41, told the Daily News. “He’d come to my house when I’d have a party and ask ‘Oh, you need any help?’ He was like my son.”
Carlos was on the beach with his twin sister Carla, their cousins and friends when the 5:20 p.m. storm rolled across the sand. Also injured was a 13-year-old girl, a 5-year-old boy, 14-year-old boy, 12-year-old girl, a 41-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, FDNY officials said.
All seven victims were on the sand when a fast-moving storm rolled over the beach, city Parks Department spokeswoman Meghan Lalor said.
“Prior to the incident, lifeguards had cleared all swimmers from the water, and Parks staff made announcements over the public address system instructing patrons to clear the beach,” she said.
Carlos’s twin sister Carla survived unscathed.
“We was packing to leave and as soon as we started to leave, lightning came down right there in front of everyone,” Carla wrote in a text to her friend Faith Johnson following the lightning strike. “(Carlos and my friend) got hit really hard by it. They was out but my friend woke up. Carlos (did) not.”
The teen’s parents were trying to cope with their son’s loss Friday .
“The mother I was talking to her on the phone,” Cleo said. “She’s just out of it.
“It was unexpected,” Cleo added about the lightning strike. “You say he was hit by a car or something, like this happens all the time. But lightning? Lightning! What are the odds of that?”
Carlos and Carla had left the Bronx about three years ago to live with their mother in New Jersey, but they often returned to their dad’s E. 168th St. home to visit, Faith, 13, said.
“He takes them every year. They always go to Orchard Beach. Sometimes they go fishing,” the teen said. “They go to the beach to have fun family time.”
Faith said Carlos was a “jokester” who loved playing basketball and dreamed of a career in stand-up comedy.
“(He and his sister) had their little arguments. They’d make fun of each other,” she recalled.
“He was my first friend. My first hug (from a boy),” she recalled. “This is hard.”
Dwayne Bryan, 13, a long-time friend and an elementary school classmate, said he has known Carlos since they were babies.
“I saw him the day before,” Dwayne said.
Dwayne’s sister, Dominique Grannum, 27, said her brother’s friend was “pure innocence.”
“It definitely took us by surprise you know?” Grannum said. “You know tomorrow’s never a promise. Something like that, it’s just very heartbreaking. It upsets me. It does. Who would know? Mother Nature right? I was never the kind of person to be afraid of lightning. But now...”
A person has a 1-in-15,300 chance of getting struck by lightning in their lifetime, according to the National Weather Service. Each year 3.8 lightning strikes occur per square mile in New York state, the National Weather Service said.