Historic Quincy Temple in the heart of downtown Quincy, Massachusetts was gutted by fire yesterday. Apparently the fire was started by workmen who were grinding stone in the building.
The Boston Herald has the story:
Smoke and flames filled the Quincy sky for more than four hours yesterday as firefighters fought a raging four-alarm blaze at the historic Masonic temple that gutted the building.
“I grew up in this building, 65 years,” said a distraught Dave Smith, a mason who is treasurer of the Masonic Building Association of Quincy. “My father was a mason that went to a lodge here and it’s just unbelievable to see what’s happened to it.”
Smith said the 1170 Hancock St. building was home to the Rural Lodge of Masons and was recently sold to Martin Realty in an agreement that would have let the masons keep meeting there. They had just started construction, Smith said.
Quincy Fire Chief Joseph Barron said it appeared that workers grinding stone material accidentally sparked a fire. They initially tried to put it out but failed.
Quincy police received the first call of the blaze at 12:08 p.m. from construction workers who said they saw smoke coming through air ducts.
Quincy Police Chief Paul Keenan told the Herald the fire started in the basement of the temple and firefighters had to be pulled out of the building just as the ceiling fell in.
The building, erected in 1929, was listed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1989, said Edward Fitzgerald of the Quincy Historical Society, who called it an example of classic Greek revival architecture.
Smith said the inside had a lit vaulted ceiling and the main room could fit up to 600 people.
“It was just gorgeous on the inside, absolutely gorgeous,” Smith. “People who looked at it just walked in and went, ‘Wow.’”
I have personally been in Lodge at this building and it was a marvelous structure. It was a very large building capable of hosting many Lodges. This is a devastating blow to Massachusetts Masonry and one that will leave a gaping hole until a replacement structure is rebuilt.