Fire Destroys 150-Year-Old Church- But What Happened To Portrait Of Jesus Christ Will Leave You Bewildered

A ferocious fire destroyed a 150-year-old church in Wakefield Tuesday night, but a painting of Jesus miraculously survived.

It was on Tuesday night when lightning sparked a massive inferno and struck the 180-foot steeple of the First Baptist Church in Wakefield.

The historic First Baptist Church in Wakefield had stood on Lafayette Street since 1872. The white building, with a 180-foot steeple, was decimated within hours by the seven-alarm fire.

It took four hours and more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames.

“Many of them were born in this town. They were baptized in this church,” Bendroth told WCVB-TV. “You know, they were hoping to die in this church.”

Susan Auld, a former parishioner, told The Globe that she watched as the flames engulfed the building.

“When the windows were all aglow — every stained glass window was aglow — it looked like you were looking into Hell,” Auld told the newspaper. “It was just an awful, awful sight.”

Photos and videos showed heavy smoke and fire. As the orange flames climbed the steeple, the ribs of the structure became visible.

“It’s been important to us and our family for many years,” parishioner Chris Rankin said. “We come every Sunday.”

“We’re just devastated. It really hasn’t sunk in to all of us yet,” church moderator Melinda Parry said.

Wednesday, crews began to demolish the pieces of the structure that were still standing after the blaze. One worker was seen carrying the large portrait of Jesus away from the building.

“Our faith is one of hope and resurrection and we believe that we can rise from the ashes and joy comes in the morning,” said Pastor Norm Bendroth.

Following the devastating fire, the church issued a statement.

“While we lost our historic building from a lightning strike this week, we praise Jesus that our church community was kept safe. A very big thank you to the many firefighters who did their jobs with excellence, and to the outpouring of support from the community. “We know that we serve a God who specializes in restoring brokenness and who can bring beauty even from ashes. So we move into the future with trust, hope, and gratitude,” the statement read.

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