The fire which heavily damaged and virtually destroyed the Siloam Baptist Church located at 1896 County Road 36, Fayette, AL on September 4th has been ruled accidental, having resulted from a lightning strike.
Rev. Delbert Preuninger told investigators he was at the church parsonage across the road from the church on the evening of the fire, when he heard lightning and thunder in the immediate area of the church. At that time the filament of a light bulb in the parsonage was damaged and the bulb ceased to work. Damage to the light bulb is believed to have been caused by lightning also.
Approximately five minutes later Rev. Preuninger noticed a car pass and then back up the road toward the church. At that time, Rev. Preuninger noticed smoke coming from the rear of the church. He crossed the road and went to the rear of the church where he observed flames coming from the attic. Responding firefighters from Wayside-Bluff Volunteer Fire Department and the Winfield Fire Department stated the fire was confined to the attic when they arrived. The fire was reported at 6:29 PM.
Examination of the scene by the State Fire Marshals Office revealed lightning damage on a tree within 32 feet of the attic where the fire was first scene. Limbs of the tree also hung over the roof of the church.