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June 15th, 2010
11:02 AM ET

Jesus statue struck by lightning

If you've ever driven between Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio, on I-75 then you probably saw the six-story King of Kings statue featuring Jesus coming out of a lake with hands raised in front of the Solid Rock Church in Monroe, Ohio.

Monday night the statue was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning.

CNN iReporters in the area are all over this story.

The gleaming white statue was unmissable, even speeding down the interstate.

Monroe fire chief Mark Neu told the CNN Belief Blog he's never seen anything like the fire in his 32 years as chief.

He said the 62-foot statue had a steel frame and was wrapped in Styrofoam and covered with a fiberglass coating to protect it. At 11:16 last night, the fire department got the call the statue had been hit by lighting and was on fire.

"It spread from the statue to the amphitheater," he said. "There was heavy damage to the amphitheater where the stature backed up to. It was a fast-moving fire. We’re looking at $700,000 worth of damage."

The chief has spoken with church officials, who have gotten calls about the statue today from as far away as China.

"I know the membership of the Solid Rock Church was devastated by the fire and have every intention of putting the statue and the amphitheater back as is was," Neu said. "They said they plan on rebuilding immediately and moving forward."

Neu said no one was injured in the blaze.

The statue made cameos in loads of Ohioans' snapshots and even made it into the documentary "Jesus Camp."

I once got a speeding ticket not far from it while on assignment. The Ohio state trooper would not give me a warning despite the fact my co-worker in the passenger seat asked if it counted if we had a "news emergency."

Check out Time.com and CNN affiliate WLWT in Cincinnati for more on the story.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Culture & Science

soundoff (1,165 Responses)
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  3. gregjohnson

    I went by one day when it was still there you could feel like there was some one going to take you out of your seat it was amazing an never had that feeling before you cant put it in words but believe me i told people around pomeroy an racine ohio you need to go see this swometime it is great an im going to go see it for my self sometime
    sorry for the loss maybe it will be bigeran better may god bless everyone

    December 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  4. Name*maxam

    Jesus struck by lighting again today on the way to Ohio

    August 31, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • lizy

      There not getting it yet.

      August 31, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
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    All hail the mighty Thunor!! ;)

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    That is the greatest news I heard all day

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    This song says it best: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o07dxkTZObA&feature=related

    November 2, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
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    Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.

    October 31, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
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    An Act of God.

    May 24, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
  12. dauighterofabeandmoses

    Why people should not worship false idols...Did God give them a message with striking down this Jesus statue?
    What was that written years before Jesus and his disciples?:

    1) I am the Lord your God...
    2) You shall have no other gods before me...
    3) You shall not make for yourself an idol....

    Hear, O Israel: the Lord is our God, the Lord is one...

    Did they worship a false idol and warned?

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  14. charley

    Will all of you people get over yourselves. This whole things means nothing. It was a random lightning strike. There is no hidden meaning, no Divine message. The lesson is one that is ages old, don't be the tallest thing around in a thunderstorm.

    November 23, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  15. dogggmannn

    Jesus!

    November 22, 2010 at 5:32 pm |
  16. Jamesb3

    Having been a commercial sculptor at one point in my career, I used to create sculptures like this all the time. This thing was virtually all styrofoam with just a relatively thin shell of fiberglass sprayed over it to give it a hard shell covering. It is the same stuff you see on the sculpted facades of certain McDonalds restaurants, for example. These sculptures have nowhere near the resilience of stone or metal. And with a metal skeleton which is essentially a large lightning rod, this was an accident waiting to happen.

    November 14, 2010 at 10:10 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.