Suspected lightning strike causes devastating fire at historic church in Spencer

SPENCER, Mass. — A historic church in Spencer was destroyed in a massive fire Friday afternoon, sending smoke and flames billowing into the air.

The Spencer Fire Department responded to the First Congressional Church on Main Street around 3 p.m. for a report of a fire in the steeple.

Investigators believe lightning struck the church first established in 1753.

The smoke could be seen from the surrounding towns.

Rev. Bruce MacLeod, Interim Pastor at First Congregational Church of Spencer, said the building is all wood and goes back to the 1800′s, which is why it burned so fast.

No one was inside when it started.

Neighbors could only watch as the steeple of the church came tumbling down.

“It was small at first and then the whole thing was engulfed. It’s really sad,” said Samantha Holmes.

“We all had to back up 20 feet because it was throwing so much heat at us,” added John Mutlick. ““It’s pretty devastating because there’s been a lot of people I know who have gotten married here, a lot of people went to the recovery center here.”

In 1862, the church building was destroyed by a fire but was rebuilt.

The church has a small congregation of around 30 people.

The pastor tells Boston 25 News it’s too early to know if the church can be rebuilt.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW

Comments on this article