Fire likely sparked by lightning tore through the only church in the town of Finland, Minn., in what was "the hottest fire" that 35-year firefighting veteran and Finland Fire Chief Pete Walsh had ever seen, the Duluth News Tribune reported.
Congregants mourned the loss, but they gathered to worship Sunday morning just hours after the Saturday night blaze, meeting at a community center, the newspaper reported.
No one was injured. But the Zion Lutheran Church building, which dates to 1957, is a total loss, with only a few concrete walls left standing. As the only church in the town of about 200, Zion has been the site of numerous community gatherings and ceremonies over the decades, including baptisms, marriages and funerals, the News Tribune reported.
“Unfortunately, we lost a lot of history last night,” Walsh told the newspaper.