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Lightning strike likely caused fire that destroyed historic Spencer church

Investigators believe lightning strike caused Spencer church fire
Investigators believe lightning strike caused Spencer church fire 02:44

SPENCER - An historic church in Spencer was destroyed in a fire that was apparently started after the steeple was struck by lightning.

The First Congregational Church of Spencer stood on Main Street for 280 years as a place of worship. It quickly went up in flames after a thunderstorm Friday afternoon.

Investigators believe the fire started in the steeple before it collapsed onto the rest of the church, which had opened in 1743.

Firefighters were able to pull back in time before the steeple fell apart in the flames.

"All I heard was a big boom, I don't like thunderstorms and I was scared and when I came out I couldn't even believe the church was on fire. It was terrible," said witness Krystal Sanchez.

"It's not what we want ever no," said Pastor Dr. Bruce MacLeod. "It could have been horrific."

McLeod said parishioners are "broken hearted." "There are no words," he told WBZ-TV.

"It was sad. There was a lot of people were crying. One lady was on her knees on the ground saying, 'I got baptized here.' It's just sad to see that," said witness Jeff Magierowlski.

"Anytime God's buildings have a problem it takes that many prayers away from congregating," said Spencer resident Pat L'Heureux.

The church was destroyed by a fire once other time, back in 1862. It was rebuilt and reopened a year later.

"People are deeply attached, so it's going to be really hard for folks to figure out what comes next," MacLeod said. 

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