The church down the street from my house has a special place in my heart. Mr. Kelly donated the land to the church and contributed money to its construction in 1870, several years before he and his wife Louisa built this house I live in now. At least part of the reason they built their house here, on this street, is that it's just a short walk down the block to their church. So when I heard the fire department was outside the church (which is now a private residence) I ran down the street to see what had happened.
A firefighter had just climbed to the top of the ladder to get a better look at the church steeple. My neighbor Vic told me, "Lightning knocked me off the porch and I guess it hit the church." At first I took him literally and thought that lightning had thrown him from the chair on his porch, but since Vic himself was not singed and his hair wasn't standing on end I assume he meant that it startled him.
We walked over to his yard and Vic showed me the tin ornament from the top of the steeple. "I found that out in the street smoldering so I filled it up with water and carried it over here," he said.
The fire department doused the steeple with water.
After a little while, that firefighter came down and another one (Assistant Chief Mike Harrison) went up. He stepped off the ladder to get a better look. Don't worry, he's still tethered to the ladder with a safety line.
He removed a couple of louvers to get a water line in there and then doused a small fire in the top part of the steeple. Other firefighters checked the rest of the tower and the building for fire and other damage from the lightning, but it seemed to be contained to just this part of the building. The people who live there weren't home at the time of the fire, but their pets were in the building and they're all okay. One of the firefighters described it as moderate damage to the steeple, but the church sanctuary (which is still in its original condition) wasn't damaged.
No injuries and not much damage to an historic building. All in all, a good day.