WAKEFIELD, Mass. – An historic Wakefield church went up in flames in Tuesday night.
The First Baptist Church suffered an apparent lightning strike during the severe weather moving across Massachusetts.
Crews began dismantling the remnants of the historic landmark in the rain Wednesday morning.
The 150-year-old building will now be torn down completely.
Just one painting hanging in the front entrance of the church was left behind, nearly untouched.
It has just a few little drips on it, but otherwise, the painting depicting Jesus Christ survived the inferno Tuesday night and now resides inside a parishioners’ house.
Although there is no official cause yet, several residents say they did see the steeple hit by lightning and they report that set off a fire that grew to seven alarms.
We spoke with the pastor a short time ago, he was about to settle in to watch the Red Sox when a parishioner called and told him what happened.
I was down about a mile away and I just saw this fireball in the sky. It just went up like a tinderbox. It’s a building built in 1870 and and it’s balloon-style so once the fire starts you know the whole building just went up quickly,” the church’s pastor, Reverend Doctor Norm Bendroth, said.
It is not coming down quickly, but the old church is coming down — much to the sadness of parishioners and residents of Wakefield.
The big priority Wednesday morning was the remains of the steeple, which partially collapsed onto the church.