Church partially collapses after being struck by lightning

Friday, May 28, 2010 | CBC News

Rubble from the collapsed bell tower lies on the sidewalk and road in front of Knox United Church. (CBC)
One of Winnipeg’s oldest churches has partially collapsed after being struck by lightning.

Just before 7 a.m. Friday, in the middle of a thunderstorm roaring through the city, a Tyndall stone spire at the top of the Knox United Church bell tower crashed to the ground.

It slammed into the church stairs then rumbled into the street, narrowly missing a parked car.

The base of the collapsed spire is also at risk of falling. (CBC)

No one was injured but a daycare located in another part of the church has been evacuated.

Staff and some children were inside at the time of the lightning strike but the daycare is well back of bell tower area.

Those people have been moved to another building down the block from the church on the same street.

Emergency crews are on the scene and have closed the roadway near the intersection of Edmonton Street and Qu’Appelle Avenue.

It is expected the area will be blocked for the entire day as fire officials are concerned another section might also topple.

Motorists are asked to avoid the area and take alternate routes if possible.

Knox United Church, as it appeared before lightning struck down one of its spires. (Province of Manitoba)

Knox Rev. Bill Millar said it is too early to determine what will happen with Sunday’s church services or any of the numerous other programs the church hosts for new Canadians and area residents.

“The big thing [is] the building itself isn’t collapsing. I mean, this is serious, but the most important thing is nobody was hurt,” he said.

“People sit on the steps all the time, you know, so there was nobody hurt.”

Originally built between 1914 and 1918 as a Presbyterian church, Knox is currently the largest United church in Manitoba.

It was one of the last great building projects undertaken in Manitoba during the Edwardian era, according to the Manitoba government, which designated it a provincial heritage site in 1990.


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