It has been two months since a massive fire destroyed a historic Baptist church in Wakefield, Massachusetts, and while the clean-up has been a slow process, some of the church's history is finally coming to the surface again. During demolition this week, crews managed to find the church's bell.
They began working Wednesday after getting approval from the town. Workers with the Federal Environmental Group, responsible for the demolition, noticed a sliver of silver in the rubble.
"We saw a shape that looked like a bell at that top and we all started clearing the debris, then finally, the bell came up," worker Paul Franklin said. "We were so excited because we never thought we would find anything in this mess."
The surprise discovery at the site of the First Baptist Church in Wakefield had parishioners coming to the site Thursday to take pictures of the bell. It is inscribed with the date 1872.
"For me, it's a miracle, it really is," parishioner Elaine Shindle said. "Because I had actually rang this bell in years past, but I had never seen it because it was so high up in the steeple."
Church members believe the bell fell from the steeple to the basement during the fire and somehow survived. The demolition has turned into somewhat of a treasure hunt for history in the 150-year-old structure. They are also looking for organ pipes and a time capsule filled with old documents.
"The church has lost 100 percent of everything they had in this fire, so whatever we can get out, even if it's soggy, we'd like to get a hold of it and dry it out," said Jim McBain, who is volunteering his time to help with the project.
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They are still searching for the final piece of the bell and it is cracked in a few places, but church members say it is already making them feel whole again.
"It does give me hope that the church will continue," said retired church music director Donna Burns said. "And hopefully, we can resurrect the bell somehow."