North Carolina

Lightning strikes twice at NC church — and the steeple burst into flames, officials say

Lightning safety tips from the National Weather Service

Lightning is more dangerous than many people think. Watch this informative video and learn how to be safe. Lighting photo from the Associated Press.
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Lightning is more dangerous than many people think. Watch this informative video and learn how to be safe. Lighting photo from the Associated Press.

A church steeple in North Carolina caught fire and fell over after repeated lightning strikes, officials say.

“We sat there, and we cried but then we knew that God was in control,” said Nancy Gallant, who witnessed the blaze at Friendly Chapel Church in Pilot Mountain, according to WGHP.

The Pilot Knob Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday night was trying to put out the fire when a second lightning strike came, toppling the church’s steeple and sending it into a “parking lot and a nearby cemetery,” the Winston-Salem Journal reports.

Firefighters worked through hail and rain, and those weather conditions helped to put out the fire, the newspaper reports.

No one was injured in the incident, which damaged the church’s roof and vestibule, WFMY and WXII report.

The congregation held weekend services in its fellowship building, according to WGHP.

“It may not be in the church building, but wherever the people are together that’s where we will have the church,” Deacon Donald Gallant told the station.

A lightning on Saturday night also hit a nearby home and “took out phone service to some,” WFMY reports.

The area “was under a severe thunderstorm warning” during the time of the lightning strikes, according to WXII.

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