CARROLLTON — Hours after staff members celebrated the second anniversary of their community theater in Carrollton, a severe storm nearly destroyed it.
Theatre 166 is part of Crosspointe Church, which sits in the center of a strip mall in the 2400 block of West Parker Road. On Wednesday night, a lightning bolt struck Crosspointe top to bottom, nearly destroying everything inside and leaving the roof on the verge of collapse.
No one was inside at the time of the lightning strike, but church members said if it had happened one hour later, people would have been inside for a community event scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
People were inside businesses on either side of the church property, but they were not injured.
In the light of day Thursday, there was a clear view of the damage. The building was surrounded by rubble. The bricks came tumbling down during the wild storm that moved through at about 6 p.m. Wednesday.
It was a heartbreaking sight for church members who worshiped there and supported the non-profit theater.
"It's tough to look at for sure" said Kylie Knight.
"We all put our our own blood sweat and tears into this place" said David Knight, Kylie's husband.
So far, no one has been allowed to go inside because it is so dangerous. Church members say a structural engineer is expected to provide them with some direction.
Mrs. Knight said it was a dream come true for church members to bring Theatre 166 to life.
The venue gives the community space to hold special functions, concerts, and even yoga classes.
Pastor David Wahlstedt said his church community's faith nay be shaken, but their faith remains strong.
"The first thing is thankfulness that there was no one inside the building because that would have been terrifying if not deadly," he said.
He said his church is fully insured, and after talking to the owner of the building, he is convinced they will rebuild.
"There's a lot of lighting and sound equipment and things we would like to recover if at all possible, but I'm not holding out a whole lot of hope," Wahlstedt said.
Wahlstedt said this Sunday's 10:30 a.m. service will go on as scheduled — even if that means worshiping in the parking lot.
Theatre 166 is called that for a reason. There are 168 hours in a week, 166 of those hours at the building is used for community groups. The other two are for worship services.
And the members say the storm didn't wipe away what's important.
Nearly 9,000 North Texas homes and businesses started the day Thursday without power and others faced a day of cleanup after the powerful storm system moved across the region.
Firefighters in Arlington think lightning touched off a two-alarm fire at an office building in the 2400 block of Garden Park Court about 7 p.m. Wednesday. Investigators said it appears that a bolt struck the peak of its tiled roof.
No one was in the building when it happened. Fire damaged the attic, and smoke and water filtered down to the other two floors.
In Fort Worth, a roof collapsed at the Wayside Plaza Apartments in the 700 block of Ninth Avenue shortly before 5 o'clock Wednesday afternoon. No one was hurt, but damage was extensive.