Lightning strike likely cause of fire at church in Guthrie

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GUTHRIE, Okla. - A lightning strike is likely the cause of a massive fire that destroyed a local church early in the morning.

It happened around midnight Wednesday at Guthrie Christian Church near N. 17th and Logan Road.

"I didn't think it was true at first. I just thought it can't be," said Don Riepe, the church's minister. "I got a call from the city that my church was on fire a little before midnight. We came, and it was already engulfed in flames."

Crews on the scene said they had to call in reinforcements from the Oak Cliff and Crescent fire departments to help battle the large flames. They believe the lightning strike is likely what caused the blaze.

"I didn't think it would be this large. I thought maybe just a little fire but, when I got here, the sanctuary roof was already collapsed and everything," Riepe said. "I had some of my board members here with me this evening looking at it. We'll just have to regroup and get with the insurance company to see what we're going to do and start over."

Thankfully, they can start over with each and every member of their church because no lives were lost.

"Just thankful to God that no one got hurt. God's in charge. So, we'll be alright," Riepe said.

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