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Lightning suspected in fire that destroyed west Wichita church

A fire early Sunday morning heavily damaged the Berean Baptist Church on North Hoover Road. (Aug. 23, 2015)
A fire early Sunday morning heavily damaged the Berean Baptist Church on North Hoover Road. (Aug. 23, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

Lightning may be to blame for a fire that destroyed a church in west Wichita early Sunday morning, authorities said.

Flames gutted the Berean Baptist Church before dawn on Sunday. The church is located at 1230 N. Hoover Road, near 13th and Zoo Boulevard.

The fire was reported at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, authorities have said, and crews had to quickly assume a defensive posture because flames had already spread so far.

The cause has not yet been determined, Wichita fire Capt. Kelly Zane said. Investigators are hoping to review security camera footage for clues to the fire’s origin.

Two rounds of strong thunderstorms rolled through the region early Sunday morning, weather officials said, and Zane said a lightning strike may have started the fire.

Damage has been estimated at $1 million.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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