The pastor of a church in Spencer, Massachusetts, believes a lightning strike may have started a five-alarm fire that firefighters were putting out.

The tall spire structure in front of the First Congregational United Church on Main Street was seen in the initial images taken at the scene as a source of smoke and fire.

The 160-year-old church was totally ravaged by the fire as it raged across it.

Also Read: Who is Melissa Mathison, Harrison Ford’s ex-wife?

The congregation claims that rich Massachusetts merchant Nathaniel Cunningham gave the church’s land in the middle of the 1800s, but the original building was destroyed by fire in 1862.

Since its construction and dedication in 1863, the existing church has undergone numerous renovations and additions along Main Street in Spencer.

As fire crews arrived at the place of worship at 207 Main Street, authorities asked the public to stay away from the area. By 3:30 p.m., after firefighters had set up a collapse zone, flames had consumed the majority of the church, with video showing the steeple toppling on the building’s right side.

Also Read: Who is Melissa Mathison, Harrison Ford’s ex-wife?

The next-door one-story structure with classrooms and a church thrift shop was also damaged by the flames. When the flames grew out of control, firefighters were told to leave the building’s roof.

The State Fire Service and State Fire Marshal Peter Ostroskey are on the site to concentrate on putting out the fire. There have not yet been any reports of injuries, and the fire’s origin is being looked into.

The Spencer community has been devastated by the loss of this historic church. For almost to three centuries, the First Congregational UCC church served as a pillar of the community; therefore, its demolition is felt deeply by both locals and tourists.