First Lutheran Church Is Struck By Lightning

MITCHELL, SD- The odds of a house getting hit by lightning is 1 out of 200 a year.  But this house is the home of a higher power.

“There’s holes in the roof of the sanctuary. The tower (as you can see) is pretty severely damaged,” says Co-Pastor Lon Kvanli of First Lutheran Church.

The top of the First Lutheran Church was hit by lightning between 7 and 8 on Friday night.  The bolt hit what was the chimney causing debris to damage the roof and possibly the inside of the church.

Lon explains, “We’re discovering as we go on. We’re discovering different systems that don’t work. We discovered today that the fire alarm system is not functioning.”

Besides having electrical issues, there could be water damage inside the church due to water coming in from the holes in the roof.   Services on Sunday were held at the church’s Family Center and will continue to be there.   The stone that was hit by lightning weighs at least 1,000 pounds and can drop into basement of the church if it breaks off.   Until that stone is safely removed, they can’t fully assess damage and no one can enter in the church.

“Most of all thankful that there were no injuries with this. Those were large pieces of stone that fell. Fortunately there was no one (you know) in the church or on the yard when that happened,” says Co-Pastor Hedi Kvanli of First Lutheran Church

Pastors Lon and Hedi Kvanli say that their insurance gave them the “okay” to start repairing the damages.  However, most of their insurance adjusters are in Nebraska.  So they’re hoping insurance will cover the damages.  First Lutheran Church was able to remove the stone off the chimney safely.  Depending on the damages, the church will hopefully be reopened to the public by Easter Sunday.

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