A bolt of lightning struck the bell tower of St. John Church at Bahner early this morning, and the church burned to the ground.

Kevin Long, who owns Wildlife Ridge Winery just down the road on Route V, said he heard the boom when it struck the church just after 5:15 a.m. Tuesday.

“Kristy and I own Wildlife Ridge Winery (which is located across the valley from the church) and when we heard the strike, we thought it had hit the winery. We looked out the window and saw the flames.

“We then called 911 and left the house to head toward the church.

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“We took the far-away picture from the winery. The lightning hit the bell tower steeple roof. The other two pictures were taken once we arrived at the church,” Long told KSIS.

Kevin Long
Kevin Long

Long called 911, and soon Lake Creek Fire, then Smithton Fire responded to the scene.

The last unit left the scene at 30602 Route V just before 9 a.m.

St. John Church was built in 1838.

St. John Church Fire Scene

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