Officials: Lightning strike caused fire that destroyed 106-year-old Massachusetts church
SPENCER, Mass. (WLNE) — Flames that consumed a 160-year-old Spencer, Massachusetts, church were sparked by a lightning strike, investigators said Monday, WCVB Channel 5 reports.
That conclusion was confirmed through an investigation conducted by the Spencer Fire Department, Fire District 7, and the State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit, according to the state fire marshal’s office.
The First Congregational Church of Spencer was destroyed by the fire on Friday afternoon. Church administrator Liz Goyette said she let firefighters into the building and that those quickly got everyone out.
“I let them in with my key. There was no smoke. There was no smell,” Goyette said.
Nearly two hours after the first fire call came in to first responders at 3 p.m., the entire roof of the structure was destroyed by the flames.
“That’s the part that blows me away is how quickly what looked so permanent and solid disappeared,” MacLeod said.
The Spencer congregation’s beginnings go back to the 1740s, but their original church was destroyed by a fire in 1862. The church that was burned down by Friday’s fire was built and dedicated in 1863.
Much of the rubble from the church fire was covered with plastic tarps as a way to keep any asbestos from floating into the air.
The congregation will now have to decide whether to rebuild the First Congregational Church of Spencer or put the property up for sale.