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Lightning strikes dome of Butler Lutheran church

Friday, June 13, 2014, 5:15 p.m.

A youth group, meeting in the basement of Grace at Calvary Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Butler when the structure was struck by lightning, didn't hear or notice anything until fire trucks showed up, an official said.

The church, built in 1902, is a solid stone building with a slate roof.

“That's how sturdy these things are built,” said Jim Thompson, a member of the church's finance committee.

Lightning from a storm on Wednesday evening hit the church's stone dome and blew stones onto the roof and out onto the sidewalk.

Thompson said the falling stones knocked a 6-foot by 8-foot hole in the roof and broke some rafters and support joists inside.

The stone pieces weigh about 100 pounds per square foot, Thompson said.

On Thursday morning, church officials were in the “button up and Band-Aid phase” of securing the roof and getting estimates for repair work, Thompson said.

Repairs would be covered by the church's insurance, he said.

Etzel Masonry of Butler will replace and repair the stone on the church's dome.

There was no damage inside the sanctuary, and Thompson didn't expect Sunday church service to be affected.

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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