A giant statue of Jesus Christ near Cincinnati, Ohio with his arms raised beside a highway was struck by lightning on Tuesday morning in a thunderstorm and burned to the ground, police said, reports The Daily Mail, London.
The 60ft-tall 'King of Kings' statue, one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks, had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati.
The sculpture, which is 40 ft wide at the base, showed Jesus from the torso up and was nicknamed Touchdown Jesus because of the way the arms were raised, similar to a referee signalling a touchdown in a game of football.
The 60ft tall 'King of Kings' statue in Ohio was made of plastic foam and fibreglass over a steel frame, which is all that remained early on Tuesday after the lightning strike.
The fire spread from the statue to an adjacent theatre but was confined to the attic area, and no one was injured, police Chief Mark Neu said.
The frame is all that remains of the statue beside the Solid Rock Church in Monroe
Travellers on Interstate 75 often were startled to come upon the huge statue by the roadside, but many said America needs more symbols like it.
So many people stopped at the church campus that church officials had to build a walkway to accommodate them.
The 4,000-member, nondenominational church was founded by former horse trader Lawrence Bishop and his wife.
Bishop said in 2004 he was trying to help people, not impress them, with the statue. He said his wife proposed the Jesus figure as a beacon of hope and salvation and they spent about $250,000 to finance it.