Two people died after being struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm outside the White House.
James Mueller, 76, and Donna Mueller, 75, both of Janesville, Wisconsin, were struck in Lafayette Park, less than 500 feet (150 m) from President Joe Biden‘s official residence in Washington, DC.
Two other people who were struck remain in critical condition in hospital.
Members of the United States Secret Service were deployed to provide emergency assistance to the park due to its proximity to the White House.
Lightning struck near a tree, a few meters from the fence surrounding the presidential residence and offices.
The District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department was called to the scene around 6:52 p.m. local time Thursday evening.
Spokesman Vito Maggiolo had to issue a statement inside his car due to “significant storm conditions”.
Mr. Maggiolo thanked the Secret Service and the United States Park Police for responding immediately and helping the four people.
Lafayette Park is a seven-acre public space north of the White House that is especially popular with visitors during the summer months.
A flash flood warning was issued for the District of Columbia following the incident.
The severe storm swept across Washington as temperatures soared above 32.2C (90F) – but high humidity levels meant the heat was compared to 37.8C (100F) .