A fire destroyed the Waterside Baptist Church in Riverside-Albert Friday night after being struck by lightning. (Krista Evans)

The Waterside Baptist Church burned to the ground Friday night after being struck by lightning.

Firefighters responded to the fire at about 11:30 p.m., in the community of Waterside, which is located about 53 kilometres from Moncton.

"One of our members lives probably three or four kilometres away from the actual church, he felt the tremor from the impact at his place," fire chief Peter Murphy said.

"Then a couple of minutes later, he said, the call came in and then he proceeded to the church. Then, at that time, it was a ball of fire – five to 10 minutes after it occurred."

The church, on Route 915, was no longer in use, Murphy said, and members were in the process of deciding what to do with the property.

Only the church bell was salvaged.