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Clean-up Continues After Wednesday's Storms

Posted at 8:21 PM, May 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-12 21:23:22-04

Fire investigators said lightning is to blame for a fire that destroyed a Mt. Juliet strip mall Wednesday.

The fire broke early in the morning, as storms were rolling through the area. The strip mall housed several businesses and one church.

Thursday, members of the Friendship Community Church spent the cleaning up and saving what they could. The fire destroyed the space. The church didn't hold services in the building, they operated their food bank and youth groups out of the space.

"This is a very special place for a lot of people, so there's a sadness that we didn't get to say goodbye on our on terms," Connections Ministry Pastor Lisa Miller-Rich said.

The church was in the process of moving locations when the fire happened. Still, it would have been months until the move was completed.

"This was God's way of saying it's time to move there and get this done quicker," church member Kristi Scott said.

Throughout the last 24 hours, businesses have donated space and nearby restaurants have given away free food as the cleanup continued.

"Friendship has been a church that has really loved serving the community, so it means a lot of see everyone stepping in to help out," Scott added .

The church is in need of donations to its food bank. Some items were able to be saved, others had to be thrown away. If you want to donate, you can do so at  Shiloh Plaza 15285 Lebanon Road, Old Hickory, Tennessee, from Monday to Thursday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

There were several other business in the strip mall as well. It's unclear when, and if, those will reopen.