Demolition process on historic Masonic Temple in Aurora begins after fire

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AURORA, Ill. – The demolition process of the historic Masonic Temple in Aurora begins Friday after the near century-old building was involved in a fire.

The three-alarm fire started at the vacant structure, located at 104 S. Lincoln Ave., around 10 p.m. Monday, forcing the closure of several surrounding streets.

The fire burned for nine hours and caused power outages around the area.

Officials say the temple is structurally unsound and could present a danger to the immediate area.

As demolition begins, the building has been secured by temporary fencing and public safety personnel since the fire.

“Immediate deployment to the site was a top priority,” said Aurora Chief Development Officer John Curley. “For the safety of the neighborhood and contractors, our goal is to first make the structure safe as quickly as possible before the process begins to remove the structure.”

An environmental consultant has been brought in to help deploy air sampling monitors on the site to protect workers.

Not every part of the structure will be demolished.

Officials said the city opted to salvage the four large west-facing columns at the building’s main entrance and the cornerstone of the temple.

Officials believe the cornerstone is presumed to contain a time capsule.

After a review, the historic district home immediately east of the temple will not be demolished and can be retained by the owner.

During the entirety of the project, road closures will be enforced. Benton Street will be closed from Broadway Avenue to Fourth Street. Lincoln Avenue will be closed from Downer Place to Clark Street.

The project is anticipated to be completed within 50 days at a total cost not to exceed $780,000.

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