Fire destroys abandoned Masonic Temple in Aurora

The Masonic Temple was built in 1922 by the Aurora Masonic Alliance, a group of 10 Masonic organizations. It was named one of Landmark Illinois’ “Most Endangered Historic Places” in 2009.

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Fire crews battled a massive blaze Oct. 8, 2019, at the abandoned Masonic Temple, 104 S. Lincoln Ave., in Aurora.

Fire crews battled a massive blaze Oct. 8, 2019, at the abandoned Masonic Temple, 104 S. Lincoln Ave., in Aurora.

Aurora Fire Dept.

A massive fire ravaged an abandoned Masonic Temple overnight Monday in the heart of west suburban Aurora.

About two-thirds of Aurora’s fire department responded to the blaze about 10 p.m. Monday, after a bystander saw smoke and embers coming from the temple and called 911, according to Aurora Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Jim Rhodes.

Firefighters were still on scene at 10:45 a.m. to extinguish the fire at the historic temple, located at 104 S. Lincoln Ave.

“We’re still on scene hitting hot spots,” Rhodes said Tuesday morning. He said the temple was vacant, and the lack of windows made it difficult to douse the inside of the building with water.

None of the 36 firefighters entered the building due for safety reasons, Rhodes said.

In an interview with ABC7 posted to the city’s Twitter account, Fire Chief Gary Krienitz explained that firefighters had to let the flames burst through the roof because the stone building was “completely enclosed.”

Two of the temple’s walls partially collapsed during the fire, which caused an unspecified amount of damage to the temple, Rhodes said.

Streets in the area near the temple, including Lincoln Avenue, Benton Street and Clark Street, were closed Tuesday morning as firefighters addressed the damage.

The Masonic Temple was built in 1922 by the Aurora Masonic Alliance, a group of 10 Masonic organizations, according to the City of Aurora’s website. It was named one of Landmark Illinois’ “Most Endangered Historic Places” in 2009.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, and no injuries have been reported.

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