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FINLAND - A church in Finland, Minnesota, struck by lightning just before 9 p.m. Saturday burned through the night, and was finally extinguished around 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
A rude awakening for residents who woke up to find their beloved church, in ashes.
A flower laid, for a church lost -- so suddenly.
“It’s like a death in the family. One minute it’s there, one minute it’s not, disbelief,”
Wendy Nikula Goette, a Zion Lutheran Church member, said.
“It’s a great loss to our community. It was a big part of our community,” Pete Walsh, Finland Fire Department Fire Chief, said.
Lifetime members, like Goette, list the ways this church has been a part of her life.
“I taught Sunday school here for a few years, my children were baptized here. I was married here,” she said.
Fire marshalls said the church building appears to have been struck by lightning, five agencies were on the scene.
“I’ve been on the fire department for 36-37 years and this is the hottest fire I’ve ever been involved with,” Walsh said.
A tragic event that has residents of Finland solemn today, but the community is already looking forward.
“Who knows what the future holds for us,” Goette said.
“I’m sure they will, we will recover and get back where we need to be,” Walsh said.
Officials said the church is working with the insurance company, and the official cause is not yet conclusive.