May 25, 2014 at 6:26 p.m.

Lightning blows hole in Southampton church

Lightning blows hole in Southampton church
Lightning blows hole in Southampton church

By James [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

Lightning struck the Southampton Seventh-Day Adventist Church overnight in an ‘explosion’ that propelled roof slates onto Middle Road and the Pastor’s lawn.

The church steeple was hit around 12:30am as the storm peaked over the island. The Fire Service this afternoon were working on putting a tarpaulin over the damaged area.

Pastor Dr Sydney Gibbons told the Bermuda Sun: “We want the church to be on fire but not like this!”

He said there was no internal damage to the church, which is situated near the Heron Bay Marketplace, and will now follow insurance procedures to fix the damage, with the cost yet to be determined.

The Church’s facilities manager Anthony Outerbridge told the Sun, though, that he feared as much as two-thirds of the steeple roof area will now have to be replaced.

Dr Gibbons left his neighbouring house in the early hours to discover the damage after hearing something “out of the ordinary”.

“In addition to all the lightning that came at different spurts there came a big bang and a big glow,” he said. “And that was it! We didn’t know it was the one [that hit] but we knew it was out of the ordinary.

“I came out last night and the debris was all over the place and that’s when we saw the damage. It's significant but it’s localized. It’s not a significant risk factor for the church because it’s only at the high end and the back end. We didn’t have a service today – we had one yesterday, so it was convenient!”

He added: “We discovered the debris actually came right up to my house, right up onto my lawn, so it was like an explosion.”

Mr Outerbridge said he was woken up by a call from the Pastor this morning and quickly went to work cleaning up the debris.

“I actually heard the bang last night just after 12,” he told the Sun. “When I was told, I didn’t think the damage was as bad as it was. I thought the lightning had hit the steeple and a few slates had been disrupted. But when I got here I couldn’t believe how much damage had been done.

“Looking at the roof [steeple area], I would say about half to two-thirds of it will have to be replaced because a lot of slates have been lifted.

“But we won’t know until we get up there and assess the damage to see how much of it will have to be replaced.”

He added: “When the Pastor rang I woke up pretty quickly! I washed my face, cleaned my teeth and got out the door. There was about five or six of us sweeping up – it took us around 40-45 minutes. It [the debris] was all over the place.

“It must have been like an explosion, with all the lightning and the energy from it. We had a lightning rod up there, which got blown away.”


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