Some say lightning never strikes the same place twice, but that's not the case for a south Nashville church, which has now been hit three times.
And the one early Thursday is by far the worst. It ignited a large fire, and when the smoke cleared, the Trinity Church of Nazarene was in ruins.
The church has been a fixture on Voltee Boulevard for more than 70 years, but in a matter of hours Mother Nature reduced it to rubble.
"I could smell the smoke on the other side of Kermit. I knew it had to be bad," said the Rev. Mike Proctor, pastor at Trinity Church of Nazarene.
Proctor got the call around 1:30 a.m. and immediately started calling neighbors and parishioners.
Robert Blair was one of the first to arrive.
"I know it's just a building, but it's still a part of us. I just don't know. It's not good. It's rough," Blair said.
Flames shot from the roof and windows and lit up the sky over south Nashville as crews battled the blaze.
"These crews went in and tried to extinguish the fire from the inside, and eventually it just grew out of control inside. And we had to call for a second alarm and put our trucks up from the exterior," said Steve Holt, with Nashville Fire and Rescue.
This is the third time lightning hit the church, with the first time back in 2007 and the second in 2012 when lightning hit the steeple.
The congregation just finished making the repairs when Thursday's strike happened.
Neighbors and parishioners watched in disbelief as flames ripped through their church again. This time, the building is a total loss.
"It is disheartening," Proctor said. "People are married, Baptisms, people give their lives to Christ and lives are transformed inside the building. But it's not the building transforming them, it is our God. So we'll move on."
A firefighter was injured when he fell while battling the fire, but we're told he's expected to be OK.
Several area churches have already offered to let Trinity hold services at their buildings.
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