Firefighters quickly put out a fire at College Hills Church of Christ in Lebanon on Wednesday evening.
According to Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen, dispatch received a 911 call shortly before 6 p.m. reporting "a strong smell of smoke and a funny smell" in the church, located on Leeville Pike.
When the first two fire trucks arrived, crews saw flames, so four other units then responded.
"That was the whole fire department [on duty at the time]," said Dowell. "All three stations responded."
Firefighters quickly contained the fire, breaking through the roof at about 6:15 p.m. before it was fully extinguished by about 6:30 p.m.
"We’re suspecting it’s going to be lightning [as the cause]," said Lebanon Fire Chief Chris Dowell. "People were inside the church, but [the fire] was mainly up in the attic of the church."
Thunderstorms moving through Wilson County at the time upped the ante for firefighters as they worked through heavy rain, high winds and and lightning.
"It's always a danger anytime you've got lightning out there – and rain and wind – while they're trying to stand on a pitched roof," said Dowell.
College Hills Church of Christ preacher Kevin Owen was thankful.
"The fact that everyone is safe, we are thankful for that," Owen said. "We are thankful Lebanon Fire Department arrived as quickly as they did. It could have been much worse. I got lots of calls from people concerned about our church. I got a couple of calls from other preachers asking if they could pray for us. We are thankful there wasn't any further damage done."
Owen said the damage was contained to the children's wing of the church. Fire damaged the crawl space, and there was water damage in the church's corridor below. An orange sheet of plastic covered the 6 square feet of roof firefighters broke through to fight the fire.
No one was injured, and Dowell said the fire damage was fairly minimal.
"It's going to be a lot of smoke and water damage," said Dowell.
--Director of Content Jared Felkins contributed to this report.