WAKEFIELD, MASS. (WSVN) – Fire crews battled a massive, multi-alarm blaze that broke out at a Wakefield church Tuesday night.

The fire at First Baptist Church on Lafayette Street was first reported around 7 p.m. by a witness who reported seeing a lightning strike hit the steeple, according to a Wakefield fire official.

Video from the scene showed heavy flames and smoke pouring out of the top of the church.

Erik Hellmer, who lives around the corner and captured the lightning strike says the sight was unbelievable. “I grew up in Wakefield and I’ve seen this church my whole life,” he said, “and now I literally just watched it explode. It’s unbelievable.”

Fire crews responded within two or three minutes, but there was little they could do as the flames quickly spread through the wooden church built in 1872.

Wakefield Fire Chief Michael Sullivan said more than two dozen communities and more than 100 firefighters were battling the blaze, which he said would go well into the night.

“It’s a total loss,” Sullivan said of the church. “I’m extremely proud of the more than two dozen communities that pulled together.”

Sullivan said a group was inside the church when the fire started and all made it out safely.

There were no reports of injuries.

Wakefield police are asking people to avoid the downtown area, specifically Richardson to Church streets.

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