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Fire destroys historic rural church in northwestern Minnesota

Fire destroys historic rural church in northwestern Minnesota Click to Enlarge

DRAYTON, N.D. (KFGO) - Fire has destroyed a historic rural church in northwestern Minnesota. Stormy weather may have been the cause. 

The fire was reported shortly before 10 p.m. Sunday at the Skjeberg Lutheran Church, about 5 miles east of Drayton, North Dakota, across the Red River, in rural Kittson County, Minnesota. Because of its close location, the church and surrounding township are within the Drayton Fire District. 

Fire Chief Jordan Grundstrom, was first on the scene and says the church, more than 100 years old, was fully involved. He says, "we're not ruling out a possible lightning strike in March, believe it or not." 

Grundstrom says firefighters were hampered by near blizzard conditions at the time. Thunderstorms, with embedded lightning accompanied the storm. 

Grundstrom says the Minnesota Fire Marshal's office will investigate, but he says damage is so severe, it may be impossible to determine a cause. 

Fire departments from Drayton and St. Thomas, North Dakota, Kennedy, Stephen, and Hallock, Minnesota, battled the fire.

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