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)
  1. FugitivePoet

    Actually proof that an intelligent and benevolent god does not exist because the perfect sign would have been the simultaneous trinity incineration of limbaugh, robertson and cheney.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  2. NickB5

    It looked like a reff signaling a touchdown before and now it just looks like a goal post.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  3. MikeB

    Actually, the scoreboard is:

    Mother Nature 1; Humans 0

    Maybe this is just Mother Nature's retribution for what mankind has done to her Gulf of Mexico.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:35 pm |
  4. Skot

    Zeus is prime suspect. He had the opportunity and motive. Authorities are asking everyone to keep an eye out for anyone resembling Santa Claus and wielding lightning bolts.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  5. Dain Rudolph

    when will this church learn God doesn't like this statue obviously its and idol. God said make no images of any kind. Just rebuilding it is going to make God more angry. Ha HA HA HA it is hilarious though I love my GOD

    June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm |
  6. FullOfFaith

    Praying for all these lost souls, that they may find conviction in Christ before they expire...

    June 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
    • SteveM

      Here's hoping you'll get a brain and wake up to reality. Stop believing in archaic myths and invisible beings.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm |
  7. Ken

    I think God has spoken, He does not like the statue. They should rethink using more humble designs. Or a better designer who does not build a form around 6 story lightning rods. For the person who designs the next one USE A CARBON FIBER FRAMEWORK, if you are going to use the styrofoam / fiberglass facade.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  8. SteveM

    Good riddance. One less symobol of ignorance and stupidity in the world.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Still_shopping_for_a_God

    The statue was struck because God didn't think it was funny to have half an image of his son whom he sacrificed...wait....what?

    June 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  10. WHBC


    June 15, 2010 at 2:32 pm |
  11. blesyk

    Science time, all you religious conspiracy theorists and other assorted morons. The 62-foot statue had a steel frame. Hmmmmm.... Maybe that had something to do with it.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  12. Bill

    The real tragedy is that they finally had it all packed up and fueled and were in their final countdown.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  13. El

    They should build an even bigger, more frightening animatronic one that waves and talks. If it becomes too distracting for I-75 he can be sent to Chuck E Cheese.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:30 pm |
  14. dr hunter

    It is a true shame some of these people who had to comment, laugh, and criticize those who are believers, do not open their minds to the whole truth. Is there one atheist who is certain they are right. I just seen a tv show about GOD, and in it a physicist has decided to become a priest because of what he has decided is right for him. He is trying to follow the truth.There are many people who have nothing to do with God but can't keep their mouth shut when they hear his name. There will come a time. The times are a changing

    June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  15. Son of Beast

    Just goes to show how literally toxic Christianity is; stupid, thoughtless, without a care for the future because their gawd Jeebus is gonna come save them all, someday... The destruction of this thing is poetic justice on so many levels.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
  16. spoo

    ooops!! i think He heard my pray, thanks budy i always count on you

    June 15, 2010 at 2:29 pm |
    • Marlye

      I bet the big guy heard EVERYONE that happened to drive by that monstrosity and wish for lightning to strike it.

      June 15, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  17. carlrosen

    If they build a new one, will it be called "The Second Carving?"

    June 15, 2010 at 2:28 pm |
    • NKYview

      LOL!!!!!!!!!!! I liken it to the story of the 3 little pigs.....maybe we can skip the "Second Carving" and go right to "Solid Rock." Hopefully the are not in an earthquake zone.

      June 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm |
  18. kanank

    So, is this his second coming? what a disaster? I guess I will have to wait for few more centuries for his third coming. Wake me up, please, when he comes back.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  19. sam

    blame the terrorists...the arabs did it.....the islamist extremist did it...bin laden did it...

    June 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm |
  20. Jojo

    I am "ascared." Could this be a sign? I mean, first Obama wins the presidency, now this... Any feedback to comfort my fears would be greatly appreciated.

    June 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
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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.