Alabama fire officials are citing lightning as the cause of a fire that burned down a church in Athens.
Members of the Athens Church of God looked on in disbelief Thursday as flames tore through the building.
It took roughly 30 firefighters five hours to get the blaze under control. When the smoke cleared, a badly charred building was all that remained.
"The fire started in the roof of the attic and surrounding area during the most extreme point of the thunderstorms," Athens Fire Marshal Tony Kirk told Athens' The News Courier. "We determined it was caused by lightning."
Congregants say their faith will carry them through this trying time.
"All of our faith will get us through this," Athens' Pastor David Root said. "You read in the Bible where tragedies happened to the children of Israel, to the first Christians. They overcame them and that's what we're going to do,"
Members say they're still in shock over losing their house of worship.
"This church was built by a lot of volunteers who put their hearts and souls into it," Root said.
Church officials have yet to determine where services will be held this Sunday.