Lightning strikes twice at Longview church

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LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) - Authorities have extinguished a structure fire at St. Paul's Baptist Church located at 2100 S High Street in Longview.

Just after 12:30 Monday afternoon, lightning struck the roof of the church at the base of the steeple. When fire fighters arrived, they found fire on the outside and inside of the steeple. The fire department had to use the ladder truck access the roof of the sanctuary.

Church deacons say they had just finished repairs from a lightning strike and fire at the exact same spot on May 26 of this year.

"This time there is more fire than last time," said Johnny Zackary, with the Longview Fire Department. "Last time it just pretty well put a hole in the roof and we've got some fire on the interior and the exterior of the structure at this time."

"We're going to check the damage to see if we can occupy the sanctuary," said Carl Briley, a church deacon. "If not, we will come up with alternative plans for our church meetings and Sunday worship."

The Longview fire marshal is encouraging the church deacons to hire a consultant to evaluate the reason for the multiple lightning strikes in the same area.

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