Dozens of viewers called and e-mailed to report that they also saw the statue ablaze on Monday night. The first callers said the statue's right hand was on fire, but the flames quickly spread.
The sculpture, about 62 feet tall and 40 feet 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 signaling a touchdown.
It was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame, which is all that remained Tuesday.
Church officials said they didn't know exactly what prompted the nickname commonly used by people in the area. The nickname is the same used for a famous mural of the resurrected Jesus that overlooks the Notre Dame football stadium.
The fire spread from the statue to an adjacent amphitheater but was confined to the attic area, and no one was injured, police Chief Mark Neu said.
Estimated damage from the fire was set at $700,000 – $300,000 for the statue and $400,000 for the amphitheater, Fire Capt. Richard Mascarella said Tuesday.
Posted by Cincinnati and Dayton Sports Photographer Vincent Rush of Monroe, Ohio. For more information (877) 858-6295