During a thunderstorm in Monroe, Ohio, last night, the “Big Butter Jesus” statue — otherwise known as “Touchdown Jesus” — was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. When Touchdown Jesus was on fire, the statue managed to ignite a part of the Lawrence Bishop Music Theater at the Solid Rock Church as well. While nobody was injured, the fire damage to the Big Butter Jesus statue and theater were estimated at $700,000.
Touchdown Jesus on fire after lightning strike
At six stories tall, and built with a steel frame, the Touchdown Jesus statue was definitely one of the tallest structures in the area. When a large thunderstorm brewed in the area, lightning struck the statue. The fiberglass and Styrofoam that gave the Big Butter Jesus statue its characteristic look were easily ignited. Fire crews were on the scene within six minutes of receiving the call that Solid Rock Church and Touchdown Jesus were on fire.
Damages to Solid Rock Church
The non-denominational Solid Rock Church of Monroe, Ohio, is the home of the Touchdown Jesus statue. The 62- foot tower of flames also started the nearby theater on fire. There was no major damage to the building, but a significant amount of audio equipment in the building was lost to the fire and smoke damage. At a press conference this morning, the Solid Rock Church representatives and fire department revealed that the damage will most likely cost about $700,000 to repair. The church does intend on “fully rebuilding” everything that was damaged – including Big Butter Jesus.
Renovations planned for Big Butter Jesus
The “King of Kings” statue – better known as Big Butter Jesus – was originally built in 2004. The sculpture was designed and created by James Lynch, a sculptor who has worked for Caesar’s Palace and Disney World. The Big Butter Jesus was slated for restoration work later this year. One thing is sure, though, if the Solid Rock Church wants Touchdown Jesus to end up in the Guinness Book of World Records, fire gives them a chance to re-compete for the “World’s Largest Christ” title.