- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

DUNN CENTER, N.D. (AP) - A century-old rural church in western North Dakota’s Dunn County has been destroyed by fire.

Lightning struck the steeple of Vang Lutheran Church on Monday night, igniting the blaze that destroyed the building built in 1916 southeast of Dunn Center.

Too much damage had been done by the time firefighters arrived for there to be any chance of saving the building, Halliday Fire Chief Joey Bogers told KXMB-TV (https://bit.ly/2628aJl ).

“The bell hit the first floor of the steeple (and) maybe five minutes later it crashed down to the ground,” he said.

The church built by Norwegian settlers hasn’t held regular services since 2010, but “it’s a landmark that’s going to be missed,” congregation member Dave Nodland said.

“One hundred years, many generations. You think of all the people that came before us and built this community and built the church and how many people worshipped here over the years,” Nodland said. “It’s very hard to see it go.”

The congregation will discuss keeping the church’s memory alive through a monument at the site, he said.

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Information from: KXMB-TV, https://www.kxnet.com

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