Sutton-on-Sea church hit by lightning

Damaged church in Sutton-on-Sea
Image caption People in the area said the lightning sounded like a bomb exploding

A church in Lincolnshire has been badly damaged by a suspected lightning strike.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue say they received multiple calls shortly before 15:30 BST saying a bolt had hit Sutton-on-Sea's Methodist Church.

Fire officers put out the blaze, on Station Road, but the church's roof was badly damaged. Nobody was injured.

Carol Chapman, who works near to the church, described it as the loudest lightning strike she had ever heard.

'Stone football'

She said: "It was really sunny one minute. Then it went really black and we had bad thunder and lightning. It made me jump.

"We walked down the back alley of my shop and could see flames coming from the church so we called the fire brigade.

"It's really bad damage. It doesn't look very repairable - the whole roof has gone."

Church warden, Margaret Shenton, who lives close to the church, said the lightning had sounded like a bomb going off.

She said: "I was just going to make a cup of tea when I heard what sounded like a giant football made of stone coming down. I thought it was going to hit the windows."

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue said it had cordoned off the area and was interviewing eye-witnesses as part of its investigation into the cause.

Group manager Tim Joyce said: "There hasn't been any formal fire investigation yet but it [lightning] is looking to be the most likely cause at the moment."

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