Lightning strike causes tree to explode outside of Hartselle church

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HARTSELLE, Ala. - Scattered storms have rained over several parts of north Alabama but what came along with the rain, had people in this Hartselle community pretty shaken up. A lightning strike caused a tree near a church to explode.

"The loudest bang you've ever heard," that's how Kim Sparkman described the lightning strike.

Sparkman is a member of the Oak Ridge United Methodist Church, said she couldn't believe her ears or eyes.

The force was so powerful it blew wood pieces into the church, damaging some of the windows.

"It damaged the fences, three windows broke out, there's glass all in the sanctuary," described Sparkman.

Part of the strike was caught on the church's security camera.

Sparkman said she's just thankful it didn't happen during a worship service.

"Had it been on a Sunday, we park under there, we could've been in here and the glass blew in on us and maybe got some people hurt," she added.

Neighbors said the impact threw wood in all directions.

"We've got timber plumb across the street, the tree, of course, is right back here. We found timber on the other side of the church," said Sparkman.

But Sparkman said Tuesday's event brought the community together to find a solution.

"We had more people here than we've had on a church service," she said.

A nearby neighbor volunteered to cut the wood and clean it up, but Wednesday's weather put a damper on that.

Sparkman said she knows a special force was protecting the community.

"God was watching because we've got cemetery guys that mow the yard and they had just left that area," Sparkman added.

And while the skies rumbled, the church's faith remains unshaken.

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