A lightning strike started a fire that destroyed an old Burke County church.
Witnesses said it took only a matter of minutes for the Baptist church on Chambers Chapel Circle to burn on Monday night.
Lena Price showed Eyewitness News where she was sitting on her front porch when she heard the strike that set the building on fire.
The flames leveled the church, which was built in 1909.
“Whew, it scared me,” Price said. “I mean, I was shaking all over. I couldn't hardly hold my phone.”
Price wasn't alone. Channel 9 spoke with more than a half-dozen people who either saw the strike or heard the thunder.
Donna Bryant showed Eyewitness News where the lightning hit a large pine tree just feet away and traveled to the steeple of the church.
“My dad called 911 and said it was smoking,” Bryant said. “About five minutes later, he had to call back and say it was blazing. So it was like, bam and that was it.”
The church hasn't been used for years -- it had been turned into a wood workshop. But nearly everyone in the community remembers it as a place of worship. One woman shared old photos from when she went there.
“Brought back a lot of memories of the family and the church I was brought up in. It was very sad,” Faye Carpenter said.
The owner said the flames destroyed nearly $1,000 of tools stored in the old church.
Investigators said there was no insurance on the building.
For those who live nearby, the lightning and fire brought new respect for Mother Nature.
“Next time I see a cloud and it is thundering or anything, I'm going to stay in the house. I'm not coming back out no more,” Price said.