Overnight fire destroys historic Masonic temple in Aurora

AURORA, Ill. (AP) – An overnight fire in the city of Aurora has destroyed a historic Masonic temple that was abandoned more than a decade ago.

The fire began around 10 p.m. Monday in the Lincoln Masonic Temple in the Chicago suburb about 40 miles west of Chicago.

A portion of the building collapsed onto power lines, cutting power to some homes as firefighters worked to douse the flames.

Aurora Fire Chief Gary Krienitz tells WLS-TV the building’s structural integrity was a big challenge for crews.

The 50,000-square-foot building was built in 1922 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

It’s been empty since 2008 when it was last used as a banquet hall. Aurora officials then shut the building down due to potentially hazardous conditions.

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