Lightning Suspected In Jamesville Church Fire

Investigators say lightning is the suspected cause in Monday's fire that destroyed a Jamesville church.

No one was hurt in the fire at the Jamesville Christian Church on Saint Andrews Street. The heat from the intense blaze also damaged the siding on a resource center for another church across the street.

Jamesville Fire Chief Randy Gardner says they suspect lightning Sunday hit a pine tree beside the church which started a fire in the church chimes. That fire apparently smoldered until Monday around 12:30 p.m. when smoke and flames were first noticed.


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Lightning may have sparked a fire that destroyed a Martin County church Monday afternoon and damaged a nearby resource center for another church.

The first alarm went out shortly before 12:30 p.m. to the Jamesville Christian Church on Saint Andrews Street.

Flames engulfed the steeple and ripped through the roof of the brick church. Flames were shooting more than 40 feet in the air.

To view pictures of the fire, click the PHOTOS tab at the top of the story.

Fire departments from two counties were called in to battle the fire. Heat from the fire was so intense that it melted siding across East Brown Street on a resource center for the nearby Baptist church.

Pastor Doug Stokes believes lightning may have caused the fire. He says two trees in front of the church were struck yesterday afternoon, knocking out power and phone service. They checked the building and found no problems, but Stokes says the fire may have gone unnoticed and smoldered until today.

The church was dedicated in the early 1950's.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Vickie Hale Location: Littleton, CO on Aug 16, 2011 at 08:13 PM
    I just heard about the fire and am so sorry for my dear friends at Jamesville Christian. God will take care of His flock wherever they meet, though some scars and pain will remain for a long time-you all know my story, and I can testify without a doubt that God is Good all the time, no matter what happens. That said, I will be praying for you all.Miss you and love you.
  • by Janet Location: Texas on Aug 5, 2011 at 05:23 PM
    Hi to all my family, friends and fellow Christians. I am so sad about what happened in Jamesville and the guy that wrote such negativity about it should go hide and repent! It could have been any church there and it would have had the same outcome. These folks will pull together and their hearts will mend in time but the memories will remain as Mike pointed out. My son is firefighter and not all fires can be saved and the fact of the time of day and civilians on hand so willing to help just shows the love this town has for its people. God Bless all of you and thank you to each of you. My only regret is I am not there to help. The Lord will provide!
  • by Michael Lane Leggett on Aug 3, 2011 at 02:35 PM
    I am prayn for a very fine man.... plain & simple.... His name is Doug Stokes.. He will unite this church like never before.. God bless his church cause they are a blessing to God...
  • by Pickles the Clown on Aug 3, 2011 at 12:49 PM
    act of God?
  • by Kim Location: Martin County on Aug 3, 2011 at 12:09 PM
    To WITN 7: The hurtful comments that are being posted on this story along with many others on this website are sickening!! This mess is becoming a website soap opera, and whoever approves these comments for posting needs to really take a step back and look at the whole picture and think about how hurtful a lot of these comments are and have enough respect for others feelings.
    • reply
      by Kim on Aug 3, 2011 at 12:14 PM in reply to Kim
      And God Bless the JCC family, stay strong and stand strong ya'll will get through this and rebuild!!
  • by You've Got To Be Kidding Location: Martin County on Aug 3, 2011 at 10:24 AM
    Anyone who questions the work of a VFD has never served or benefited from their efforts. Without them, the outcome would have without question be far worse. Martin County is blessed with amazing volunteer fire and fire responders all over the county. Thanks to all of them!
  • by church/firemen Location: beafort co. on Aug 3, 2011 at 09:50 AM
    To JCC-sorry that you loss your church,but knowing the people there and around Jamesville-it want take you long to rebuild and continue to worship there. I would like to make this comment-Firemen are like family- just like a church family. They come together and help anyone in need of help. Been a fireman for nearly 40 years. Starter in Martin Co. and then moved to Beaufort Co. This is one thing that I can give back to my or others commuity. Thankful no one was hurt at the fire and thank all of you that help them at the fire. Firefighting is a choice that a person makes and if it is vol fire bases-they give more than they receive. So THANKS to all the fire persons and emts that were there.
  • by Delta929 on Aug 2, 2011 at 06:25 PM
    People who pick on other's spelling make me very angry. I work with a guy who could pick you a apart when it comes to editing. They are just trying to get a point across not pass a SAT for goodness sakes! Get off your ego.
  • by this is weird ! on Aug 2, 2011 at 05:43 PM
    This comment has been deleted.
    • reply
      by to this is weird on Aug 2, 2011 at 06:50 PM in reply to this is weird !
      yes they r very close but the church was already engulfed. dont blame the fire department. they did a wonderful job. yes the church was destroyed but it was also an older church just thank god no one was hurt. again all volunteer fire fighters and volunteers you did a wonderful job. dont let negative comments bring you down. thoughts and prayers for all involved.
    • reply
      by Mike Jones on Aug 2, 2011 at 07:28 PM in reply to this is weird !
      seems to me if you knew anything about firefighting it would be easy to understand. The church was built over 50 years ago and with the normal building construction of a church they are hard to extinguish, without killing yourself. The older rough cut timber is very easy to burn and at extremely high temps. There were 6 departments and an ladder truck there. The firefighters advanced on the fire at the buildings narrowest location ahead of the fire. There was very effective water supply and ventilation crews were in place. There were multiple engines crews and water supply operations were in full force. So before you start downing our department use a little firefighting knowledge of your own. You just talked down to all those firefighters and there departments. So who are you and what competent department are you from?
      • reply
        by John Smith on Aug 3, 2011 at 10:32 AM in reply to Mike Jones
        I agree with you Mike, the materials used in previous contruction was highly flammable, and Im sure mixed with post 70's carpeting or paints/primers it created a toxic and combustable environment.
    • reply
      by Resident on Aug 2, 2011 at 08:44 PM in reply to this is weird !
      You ought to think about what time of the day this happened. At 12:30 in the afternoon, a lot of volunteers are at work. After viewing the extent of the damage and heat, it's a wonder not more damage was done to other structures nearby. I'm sure all the volunteer's are quite competent in the job they do. Shame on you for downing these volunteers.
    • reply
      by Jay Peaks on Aug 3, 2011 at 10:24 AM in reply to this is weird !
      To: This is weird.....I posted my name. Are you man or mouse? If I were a betting man, I would bet you are a mouse. Prove me wrong !! Put your REAL name up here. You seem to have alot to say about something you know nothing about. Come-on, talk with me !!!!!Don't hide behind some childish name !Stand-up, be a man!!!!
      • reply
        by casey white on Aug 3, 2011 at 11:50 AM in reply to Jay Peaks
        Yes it certainly takes a man to put his name on a post on a website...what on earth are you trying to prove? I know quite a few tiny girls who aren't afraid to put their names up here, me included, but I don't feel all manish for doing it.
  • by Vivian Bedwell Location: Jamesville on Aug 2, 2011 at 09:51 AM
    Along with all of Jamesville, I am sorry about the Jamesville Christian Church burning,however, and so thankful to God that no one was hurt. The Bible has taught me to trust in God and I believe as long as we all have faith and trust in the Almighty God that all things will be okay. Bad things happen sometimes and yes, bad things happen to good people. We know not why. I believe the fire was caused by an act of nature and not the devil at work. I would have to think that the devil is so powerful...more powerful than God so no, I refuse to believe the devil had anything to do with this. God is good and I have never believed otherwise. The few comments I've seen on Witn are unthoughtful so I hope the people who made them will change their attitude and ask God for forgiveness. In a time of sadness which the church burning is, no one needs to read negative comments. Sometimes these blogs may not be a good thing and furthermore, Witn may need to screen the blogs more closely before they are published.
  • by still jamesville at heart Location: nc on Aug 1, 2011 at 05:27 PM
    so sorry for the loss of the church. i remeber growing up in jamesville and all the get togethers and stuff they had at the church. thank god no one was in there when this happened. and thank you to all the fire fighters and volunteers who helped out during this time.some things happen for a reason. so just remeber the good times you all had there...god will grant you a way to rebuild. he does work in mysterious ways.
  • by Carlton Modlin Location: Pinehurst NC on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:57 PM
    To Beachbum3 - You will find no church and church family greater than the people in the Jamesville Christian Church. I grew up in this church until I had to move away from this wonderful community. I think comments like yours is a lot of what the problem is in this world today. I think your handle fits you perfectly "BUM". God be with all my freids and family in Jamesville, my thoughts and prays are with all of you, I love you all.
  • by Island Nurse Location: Jamesville on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:50 PM
    It never ceases to amaze me that even at a tragic time such as this there always has to be at least one idiot who puts an ignorant comment on this site. It also never surprises me that these are always the ones who need spell check and have the grammar of a three year old! Yes our Lord is telling us something-He loves us all and will use this experience to make ourselves and others stronger! A church is not just a building-it is the people who worship there! Thanks to all the firefighters from all communities and all others who came to our aid. We will come back stronger than ever!!!
  • by Curtis Location: Indiana on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:50 PM
    The building burned down but the wonderful people who are the church still remain. The memories of a great childhood in this church will not be erased. The memories of weddings, funerals, good times, and sad times will remain. The building will be rebuilt and the church will remain strong.
  • by The Leggetts Location: Jamesville, NC on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:48 PM
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to this congregation. It is a sad day and there are many heavy hearts, but knowing the community of Jamesville, today will be the start of bigger and better things for this church. I know that our local community will pull together to help this church rebuild. Keep your faith. Buildings are replaceable, although there are lots of memories there. The church is not the building but it is in our hearts. Thankfully this did not happen yesterday when the church was full of people. God Bless this Church/Family.
  • by Sharon H Location: Jamesville on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:46 PM
    The fire fighters are heros and all of us need to be sure to thank all fire fighters everywhere for their unfailing dedication to their communities. Gos bless you all.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Aug 1, 2011 at 05:16 PM in reply to Sharon H
      hho is gos?
      • reply
        by Sharon H on Aug 1, 2011 at 06:25 PM in reply to
        So sorry, of course i meant GOD! Who is Anonymos? Guess you never made a mistake.
        • reply
          by Bill on Aug 1, 2011 at 07:10 PM in reply to Sharon H
          We knew what you meant Sharon. Sorry for the loss to your community
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Aug 2, 2011 at 08:33 AM in reply to
        Did you mean who? Hho is not a word, Ms/Mr. Perfect!
  • by bystander Location: pinetown on Aug 1, 2011 at 04:36 PM
    ATTENTION BEACHBUM 3. What is your problem? I am also from Jamesville and know just about the whole congregation from this wonderful church. All of these people are very upset at this time so why would you or anyone else like you even begin to make remarks like you did. Where's your brain?? You should be conforting these good people instead of stupid nonsense like this. My prayers are with all of you and with my family that belongs to this church.
  • by Ross Location: Concord,N.C. on Aug 1, 2011 at 03:52 PM
    This is so sad. I watched my Niece, Stephanie Griffin, marry in this church. My preyers and thoughts are with the folks of Jamesville, and Phil and Sharon Griffin.
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