Lightning Strikes Local Church, No Injuries, Tree Destroyed

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A High Country church has a little more to be thankful for after mostly minor damage following a lightning strike on Wednesday night, but it could have been much worse.

A poplar tree appears to be the most damaged item at Holy Cross Episcopal Church in Valle Crucis. The tree exploded sending pieces flying around the outside of church and landing in the graveyard and parking lot.

Dale Townsend, with the maintenance department of the church grounds, tells WataugaRoads.com they believe the strike hit the tree at back corner of the church, arched over to a gutter, went into a propane fuel line running behind the church and entered inside the church into the electrical panel. The propane line had to be replaced due to the damage, blown fuses were also found in the electrical panel.

Townsend said it’s a wonder that the propane didn’t ignite somehow causing a far worse scene. The current church, located just off highway 194 in Valle Crucis, has been in place since 1925.

*see video at the end of the pictures*

Photos & videos: Kenneth Reece

Part of the tree forced into the ground
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Part of the tree forced into the ground
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Holy Cross tree_01

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Holy Cross tree_02

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Holy Cross tree_08

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