BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — In New Jersey, the life of an ambitious young lifeguard was cut short by a lightning strike Monday.
Pain and agony hung over South Seaside Park on Tuesday, as lifeguards huddled in sorrow and family members cried in despair.READ MORE: Mayor De Blasio Announces Vaccine Mandate For All New York City Municipal Workers, Including First Responders
Their tears soaked the ground around 19-year-old Keith Pinto’s lifeguard stand.
“We would drive together, drive home together. Go out to lunch together. We’d do pretty much everything together. So now it’s just crazy to see him not here anymore, especially in a way like that. It’s just heartbreaking,” Kevin Pinto, Keith’s twin brother, told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
The two were inseparable, lifeguarding side-by-side the last four years.
Now Kevin is inconsolable, learning that while he was off Monday, his twin was fatally struck by a bolt of lightning during a fast-moving storm through Berkeley Township.
“He truly made everybody laugh without even trying. He was just naturally funny and loving and caring,” said Tina Pinto, their sister.
Keith was a rising sophomore at Ocean County College with many aspirations, including studying criminal justice and psychology.
“He always said, ‘I’m built different.’ That was his phrase and he really, really was built different. He was an amazing kid,” Tina said.READ MORE: 1 Dead, Another Injured After Police Pursuit Ends In Crash In Holtsville
Classmates who graduated from Toms River North with Keith said wherever he went, laughter always followed.
“He always lit up the room, everywhere,” friend Nick Derose said.
“Always in a good mood, no matter what. He was never, ever, ever down, and that’s why it was unfair that it was him,” friend Tyler Avallone said.
Unfair a teenager, passionate about helping others, will never be able to live out his dreams.
His family said he was selfless, which is why he decided to become a lifeguard, and had plans to join the Marines.
Watch: Vigil Held For Lifeguard Killed In Berkeley Township Lightning Strike —
Hundreds of people gathered at a vigil Tuesday night to honor Keith.
“Celebrate Keith. Don’t mourn him. He wouldn’t want everybody crying over him. That’s just not the kind of person he is,” one of Keith’s brothers said.
The township administrator says they are looking into whether the metal lifeguard stand that Keith had been sitting on played a role in the lightning strike. The township purchased the new chairs last spring after the old wooden ones were deteriorating.MORE NEWS: Employee Stabbed To Death At East Harlem Deli
CBS2’s Christina Fan contributed to this report.