FREDONIA – A copper gutter that blew off the Family Church Fredonia landing on a nearby transformer caused a fire that destroyed the bell tower Friday evening, according to Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Investigators.
Witness told deputies that due to high winds part of the copper gutter was blown off, landing on a nearby transformer.
When the gutter came into contact with the transformer, the entire system became energized; once energized, the positively charged electricity searched a path to the negatively charged ground.
Investigators said that the charged entered the church via the soffet at the base of the bell tower.
The soffet smoldered for a time, then ignited. The majority of the fire was contained to the bell tower, according to investigators.
National Grid reportedly assisted investigators determining the cause.
Deputies said the fire was an accident.
Related reporting: Fredonia Church Asks For Community Support After Friday's Fire