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Church in Spencer did not catch fire during same–sex wedding

False claims about fire incident from June resurface on social media


Claim: Social media posts show a church in Boston which caught fire after lightning struck it during a same-sex marriage ceremony. All attendees died during the fire.

Fact: The church caught fire due to a storm after lightning struck it in June 2023. There was no wedding taking place at the time of the incident and the church was reportedly vacant.

On 19 September 2023, a Facebook user posted a video (archived) with an Urdu caption,

امریکہ کے شہر بوسٹن میں ہم جنس پرست جوڑے کی شادی کی تقریب کے دوران آسمانی بجلی گرنے سے چرچ جل گیا۔ کوئی زندہ نہیں بچا۔

Translated [A church was burned down by lightning during a same-sex wedding ceremony in Boston, USA. No one survived.] 

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check conducted a reverse image search on the video’s keyframes. The results on Yandex and Google Lens showed multiple news reports on the incident from June 2023.

Yahoo published a news story on 3 June 2023 with the headline, “Suspected lightning strike causes devastating fire at historic church in Spencer.” The story reads that the First Congregational Church was destroyed in a massive fire on 2 June in Spencer, Massachusetts, United States. It also states that no one was inside when the fire started and no ceremony took place at that time.

WCVB-TV, a Boston-based TV Channel, also reported the incident on 4 June 2023. In the report, it mentioned that the Pastor believed the lightning strike caused a fire and no one got hurt.

Spencer Fire & Emergency Services, the fire fighting department that worked to put out the church fire, published a statement on their Facebook page on 5 June 2023, which said, “This was a monumental task that was out of control within minutes of the fire alarm call. We’re glad there were no injuries or truck damage.” It is thus clearly confirmed that no injuries were reported.

The church in the past posted in favour of LGBTQ rights on their Facebook page here and here. However, during the incident, it was confirmed that no LGBTQ wedding was happening at that time.

This is not the first time such a claim has been made, when the incident happened in June, similar claims were shared here, here, and here. Reuters Fact Check and other IFCN-verified signatories have debunked the claims in the past.


The false claim can be found here, here, here, and here between June – September 2023.

The video was also shared with false claims on YouTube here.

Conclusion: The video of a Boston church catching fire due to lightning did not happen during or due to a same-sex marriage. The incident took place in June and no one was injured.

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