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Lightning strike suspected as cause of fire at 160-year-old Massachusetts church

By The Associated Press - | Jun 4, 2023

SPENCER, Mass. (AP) — A fire that burned down a 160-year-old Massachusetts church was likely started by a lightning strike, a fire chief said.

The First Congregational Church in Spencer caught fire Friday afternoon, when a storm was moving through the area. Video showed the steeple falling as the building was engulfed in flames.

Spencer Fire Chief Robert Parsons said in an email Saturday that lightning likely started the fire. He said the building was a total loss.

No injuries were reported in the fire, which drew nearly 100 firefighters from close to 20 departments.

There has been a church in the area since the 1700s. A church on the site was lost to fire in 1862.

Spencer, in central Massachusetts, is about 10 miles (16 kilometers) west of Worcester.


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