Lightning strike knocks off piece of Knox United tower

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WINNIPEG -- Knox United Church parishioners will be in the pews on Sunday after hearing the damage caused by a lighting strike early Friday morning wasn’t as bad as feared.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 28/05/2010 (4690 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

WINNIPEG — Knox United Church parishioners will be in the pews on Sunday after hearing the damage caused by a lighting strike early Friday morning wasn’t as bad as feared.

Other areas of the church’s facility, including a day care and community offices, will reopen on Monday.

A lightning strike at about 6:45 a.m knocked off a chunk of the tyndall stone bell tower atop stately Knox United Church, sending it about 25 metres to the street below.

Rev. Bill Millar said the block of stone didn’t smash through the roof so, while parts of the interior sanctuary will be roped off, parishioners can worship there on Sunday.

“It’s great news — far better than it was this morning,” Millar said this afternoon. “And there were no injuries. We’re very pleased about that.”

 

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The boulder-like chunk, measuring more than one metre in diameter, crashed down to the front steps of the church, and then caromed onto the street, narrowly missing vehicles.

The steps of the historic church, which overlooks Central Park, were badly damaged.

There was no one inside Knox United at the time of the bizarre incident, however, a daycare nearby was evacuated as a precaution. The children and caregivers were ushered into a city transit bus and out of the rain as a thunderstorm rolled through.

"A spire came crashing down. Apparently it got hit by lightning and came crashing down," said Pastor Bill Millar of Knox United. "In the end, it’s a building… nobody was hurt."

Police closed a section Edmonton at Ellice Avenue to Cumberland Avenue; it was thought the stretch would remain closed for the weekend.

"The top pieces are unstable, and so we’re just waiting for the building inspector to come in and large equipment to remove the pieces that are loose," said District Chief Bob Richen, of Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

Knox United, one of the city’s oldest places of worship, has been designated a Manitoba heritage site. It’s the largest United church in Manitoba, constructed between 1914 and 1918. The building was designed by J.H.G. Russell, a prominent Winnipeg architect also responsible for Westminster United Church on Maryland Street.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Friday, May 28, 2010 7:54 AM CDT: Additional details of the church tower collapse were added.

Updated on Friday, May 28, 2010 5:28 PM CDT: Adds information about church and facility reopenings.

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