Church fire in Queens appears to have been caused by lightning strike

SOUTH OZONE PARK, Queens (WABC) -- As storms tore through the area on Wednesday evening, a fire at a church is Queens is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike.

The FDNY responded to the fire at the Spirit and Truth Christian Church on Sutter Avenue just after 7:30 p.m.

Crews worked hard to save the house of worship as flames raced up the front of the building, right beneath the steeple.

Neighbors say the clap of thunder that preceded the fire was even more dramatic than the actual flames.

Witnesses say the steeple took a direct hit from a lightning bolt. Firefighters ripped giant holes at its base to attack any trace of flames.

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Fortunately the church was empty when the storm passed through.

Pastor Daniel Marimuthu said he was very disappointed because it was only two weeks ago that his congregation returned to physical services after spending months apart due to COVID.

Tonight the uncertainty has returned, but the man of God still sees reason to be thankful.

"We just have to say thank you God nobody was in there when this happened, I guess this can be repaired," he said.

The official cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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