Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Aug 9, 2022 / 15:10 pm
A lightning strike caused a roof fire Monday that severely damaged a historic Catholic church in Rockford, Illinois, and left three firefighters injured, authorities said.
The Rockford Fire Department determined that lightning set the roof on fire at Saint James Catholic Church, Mike Rotolo, the department's fire prevention coordinator, told CNA Tuesday. The damage to the church may exceed $3 million, he said.
The city's building department posted a yellow sign with the message “Condemned: Do Not Enter” outside the church Monday, Rotolo said. This means that the building is not safe to use in its current condition, he said.
The church is located outside the Chicago metropolitan area in the far northern part of the state. The church was first blessed in 1853, according to the parish’s website.