As a thunderstorm rolled Memphis on the afternoon of August 8, 1958, lightning struck the Sylvan Heights Baptist Church at 1214 Chelsea Avenue. When fire fighters arrived on the scene, the attic of the building was in flames. A second alarm was sounded, which brought Fire and Police Commissioner Claude Armour and Chief John Klinck to the scene. As Chief Klinck called for a third alarm, fire fighters working in the sanctuary heard the sound of wood cracking. In a quick move that averted a potential disaster, most of them dropped to the floor below the church pews, just before a large portion of the roof collapsed onto the tops of the pews. Eight firemen were injured, but none seriously. Fire Commissioner Claude Armour and Chief Klinck were among those inside the church when the collapse occurred, but they escaped without injury. Damage to the church was estimated at $150,000.

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