Lightning strikes church cross, starts fire inside, officials say

HOUSTON – Firefighters responded to a report of a church fire in Channelview late Friday night, believed to be the result of a lightning strike.

Multiple agencies including Channelview, Sheldon, Clover Leaf and other fire crews responded to the Dell Dale Avenue Baptist Church around 7 p.m.

Once they arrived, smoke could be seen coming from the roof.

Crews went inside and found a fire in the steeple area.

Investigators said it's believed to be the result a lightning strike that hit the cross and came through the steeple, arced in the roof area.

Firefighters said they had a hard time getting to the fire, but once they did, they quickly put it out within about 15 minutes.

As for the damage, we're told its moderate, caused by smoke, along with the water to put out that fire.

Officials said although the sanctuary itself was damaged and will need repairs, church services will go on this weekend.

They're just glad the fire wasn't any worse.

John Denning, the director of outreach ministries at Dell Dale Avenue Baptist Church said, "It was a lot of people and a lot of prayers real fast and the main people in charge of the maintenance, myself included, we all came up here to see what we could do to help and what's needed. And we're already making plans to have church services on Sunday in our gymnasium over here. Church as usual. God doesn't stop."

Church officials said a fire destroyed their other church in the 80s and it's another reason they're counting their blessings.

They said they have insurance that'll cover the costs to repair the damages.

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