The Portsmouth Fire Department confirmed Thursday that it was lightning that sparked a two-alarm fire that destroyed a church in Portsmouth Wednesday evening.

Firefighters were called to the Mount Sinai Family Life Christian Center on Columbus Avenue around 6:30 p.m. The call came in as a lightning strike to a home. Firefighters arrived on scene and discovered the church fully engulfed in flames.

“We rushed over here,” said Pastor Jeffery Grant.

He and his wife, Dr. Linda Grant, rent the property for their ministry, Miracle Christian Center.

“We could not believe that the church building was on fire,” Dr. Grant said.

At one point, 11 fire units were on scene working to battle flames, which were contained to the church.

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