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Portrait of Jesus Christ only thing left after fire destroys historic church

The First Baptist Church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, was destroyed by fire this week, but a portrait of Jesus Christ was left unharmed. (Image source: Video screenshot)

A nearly 150-year-old church in Massachusetts was destroyed by fire earlier this week.

Somehow, the seven-alarm blaze left only one item to salvage — a large portrait of Jesus Christ.

"Our faith is one of hope and resurrection," First Baptist Church interim pastor Norm Bendroth said, the Boston Globe reported. "We believe you can rise from the ashes, and joy comes in the morning."

What happened?

On Tuesday night, lightning sparked a massive inferno when it struck the 180-foot steeple of the First Baptist Church in Wakefield. The historic church had stood in the community since 1872.

It took four hours and more than 100 firefighters to put out the flames, WBZ-TV reported.

"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."

There were no injuries from the fire.

On Wednesday, demolition crews began removing the debris, and that's when the painting was discovered unharmed.

What did the church say?

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.

What else?

The 100-member congregation will hold Sunday worship at 10:15 a.m. at the First Parish Congregational Church, according to the church's website.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help the church in its rebuilding efforts.

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