Historic Milwaukee church destroyed in massive fire

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A fire tore through a historic church in Wisconsin on Tuesday, sending heavy smoke and flames spiraling through the air.

Milwaukee firefighters battled the four-alarm fire at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in downtown Milwaukee Tuesday afternoon, Fox 6 reported.

Brian Smith, of the Milwaukee Fire Department, said no injuries were reported and said "everyone is accounted for at this time."

As of 5:30 p.m. local time, 85 personnel were reportedly still working to put the fire out.

"It required us to call in extra equipment," Smith said. "With a church of this size — required a lot of aerial ladder trucks...with water towers aiming toward the building to put the fire out."

One of the building's steeples, according to Fox 6, collapsed. The church endured a fire last year, and was remodeled in recent years.

The Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, which is part of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, opened in 1847 by German immigrants. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a state and city landmark.

Smith said it's "too early to tell" how and where the fire started, but said a call came in around 3:45 p.m. about a fire on the roof.

Residents in the area expressed concern for the church. Dinnel Murphy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel "it's a shame."

"It's a beautiful building," Murphy said. "It's been there forever. It helps the poor and homeless, too."