Extra-alarm fire destroys historic Masonic Temple in Aurora

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AURORA, III — A massive fire destroyed the historic Masonic Temple in Aurora overnight.

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

Firefighters used ladder trucks to fight the flames coming from the roof and windows of the building. For safety reasons, they remained outside of the building to fight the fire, officials said.

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

“This building has some unique features,” fire chief Gary Krienitz said. “There are no windows. Normally we see a building we break the windows out and get to the fire that way. This was completely enclosed."

People living in houses neighboring the temple had to be evacuated. By Tuesday evening, most were able to return to their homes. A piece of the building fell and destroyed a minivan parked nearby.

Despite the temple being added to the National Historic Landmarks list in the 1980s, it has been vacant since 2008. Some interior walls have collapsed. The city has talked about renovating it but so far people who live nearby have seen no action.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.



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