CULPEPER, VA., JULY 11 -- A thunderstorm accompanied by high winds, lightning and hail blew the steeple off a Culpeper church and disrupted electrical service to thousands of area residents today, officials said.

The storm hit about 3 p.m., knocking the steeple from St. Stephen's Church and downing power lines and trees. No injuries were reported.

The Rev. Mark Lewis said no one was in the church when the storm started. Rain poured through the area where the steeple once stood.

"We had a service earlier that day and it's a funny feeling to come back a couple hours later and see {the church} so damaged," Lewis said.

The destroyed steeple had replaced another one that was blown down about 25 years ago. The church was built in 1821.

A damage estimate was not immediately available. Police Chief C.B. Jones said a few houses and businesses received roof damage.

"I've been here for 27 years and there's never been a storm like this," said Kim Riddell, whose house was damaged by a fallen tree. "I hope it will be another 20 till we see one again."

About 3,000 Virginia Power customers in Culpeper County lost power for about an hour. About 4,700 Rappahannock Electric Cooperative customers also lost service, but utility spokesman Oliver Price said almost all service had been restored by tonight.