The bells at Trinity Presbyterian Church will not toll this morning as flames engulfed the historic church Saturday night after a fire spread from the attic and brought the roof down.

Capt. Scott McBurney of the Opelika Fire Department said he believed the church was struck by lightning. McBurney, who lives near Trinity, said he heard thunder and then a pop an hour before the station received a call at approximately 6:46 p.m.

“We were on the scene in three minutes,” McBurney said. “Smoke was visible at the roof ridge, and flames were coming out. The fire had already spread through the attic. Once a fire is in the attic, it spreads fast. There’s nothing up there to stop it. No sheet rock, just rafters up there.”

Fat fire hoses were scattered on the ground at Trinity’s entranceway, and ladders were being toted to the back of the church. Ladder 317 was stretched toward the top of the church steeple, the water in full force. Deep fire engine tire tracks could be seen in the grass directly in front of the church entrance.

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