Storm blows steeple off Laurel County church, rips roof off home

The steeple of the First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt was blown off by a severe...
The steeple of the First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt was blown off by a severe thunderstorm around 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 6, 2022(East Bernstadt Fire and Rescue)
Published: Apr. 7, 2022 at 10:35 AM CDT
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EAST BERNSTADT, Ky. (WKYT) - Several strong to severe thunderstorms rolled through Southern and Eastern Kentucky Wednesday evening, causing multiple instances of damage.

Most of the damage was confined to northern Laurel County, between Bernstadt and East Bernstadt, where a strong line of thunderstorms moved through around 5 p.m.

One of the calls received by East Bernstadt Fire and Rescue was about the steeple on top of the First Baptist Church in East Bernstadt. The storm appeared to have blown the steeple off the top of the church and onto the sidewalk in front of it.

Storm blew through East Bernstadt this afternoon. Tricia, Julia, Varlene, Lydia and Sarah were in the building but all...

Posted by FBC East Bernstadt on Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Several people were in the church at the time, but no one was hurt when the steeple fell.

Tricia Jones and Julia Mullens were at the church when it happened to prepare for an Easter program at the church. They said they saw a shadow through a stained glass window, heard a bang and then water started to come in.

Pastor Norm Brock wasn’t there when the steeple fell but was driving to the church when it happened.

“Extreme wind and several trees coming down as I returned to the church property. I was out of cell service but when I hit cell service all of a sudden I started to get a bunch of text messages about damages in the community and damages in the church,” Brock said.

The pastor of the 30-year-old says it’s too early to estimate the cost of the damage or when the steeple will be repaired but says he is optimistic about the future.

“This can be easily repaired and everything will be fine and we will have church Sunday, it’s not an issue,” said Brock.

Elsewhere in the county, there were reports of a cabin under construction being blown off of its foundation, two damaged barns in the Wood Creek Lake area, and several instances of downed power lines or trees falling into power lines.

“It happened so fast. I just had to pull into the carport and saw it coming,” said homeowner Carlos Hoskins. “You know, all of a sudden, my truck started shaking, giving it that and it was raining real hard and I couldn’t get out till it was over, but when I got out. The roof was laying over here.”

Hoskins and his neighbor, John Wilder, are just happy to be alive and hope insurance can help Hoskins fix the home he’s been in for 24 years.

“Well, they are gonna come out and check and I went and talked to them as they just got back so an estimate it and what you know go from there,” Hoskins said.

They are also fortunate that, while they lost power, it wasn’t for a long time. So, they weren’t left in the dark after the storm.

“Big shoutout to Jackson Energy for really coming out here and getting power restored,” said Wilder. “They knocked it out of the park.”

It has still yet to be determined if the damage was from straight-line winds or a tornado, but the neighborhood said, at this point, all they can do is prepare for the next storm.

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