PERRYSBURG, OH (WTOL) – Fire dispatchers said the steeple at St. Rose Catholic Church in Perrysburg caught fire around 10:40 a.m. Tuesday. According to the Toledo Catholic Diocese, lightning struck the 170-foot-tall steeple, sparking the fire.
Firefighters said the fire, and most of the damage, was contained to the steeple. There was minor damage to the sanctuary near the church's entrance. Total damage is estimated at $200,000.
"Right now it doesn't look like there's a lot of damage on the inside. We've had people in several times, and they've reported zero smoke, zero damage and it doesn't even sound like the water is getting down into the sanctuary," said Perrysburg Fire Chief Jeff Klein.
No one appeared to be inside the church at the time of the incident and no one was injured in the fire.
"Due to the location of the fire, we can't get people inside the steeple because of the shape of the bells," said Klein. "If there were to be a problem, we wouldn't be able to get them out in time. So right now what our goal is, is to try and get the fire knocked down from the outside."
The Perrysburg Fire Department was on the scene and called for assistance from Maumee and Rossford fire crews. It took firefighters about an hour to get the fire under control.
St. Rose Catholic School, which is next to the church, was not in session Tuesday as the district is on spring break.
St. Rose Catholic Parish opened in 1892, and is one of the largest in the Toledo Diocese with nearly 8,000 members. It recently underwent renovation.
Wednesday Masses (7:00 & 9:15 a.m.) and Confession Tuesday and Wednesday will be held in the school gym to allow for clean up. All other Holy Week events and Easter Mass will be held in the church as originally scheduled.
Hear more from the pastor and parishioners on WTOL 11 News at 6.
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