Reporting Bill Shields
QUINCY (CBS) — A raging fire has destroyed an iconic Quincy landmark.
The Masonic Temple on Hancock street is now just a shell, after flames tore through the building Monday. Firefighters tried to get inside to douse the flames, but were driven back.
“It’s really sad,” said Jim Bennette, a local Mason, “because this building meant so much to so many people and not just because of the art-deco architecture. At its peak, it was home to 4,000 masons.”
Howard Jacobs owns a jewelry store in the neighborhood.
He said the fire started around noon and there was ash in the air once the roof became fully engulfed.
Jacobs told WBZ-TV the temple is not always open, but he did see people there this past weekend.
According to WBZ’s Bill Shields, there are about 400 active members of the temple.
Built in 1926, the 21,653 square foot building is on the National Register of Historic Places and considered a fine example of a 20th century Classic Revival public building.
The Patriot Ledger reports the building was put on the market for $3 million in July and bought by a Quincy realtor.
It is believed the fire started as workers repaired a heat line in the basement.
“We think the fire started down there, and they tried to put it out. There was a delay in calling the fire department,” said Quincy Chief Joe Barron.
MBTA bus routes downtown Quincy were diverted away from the fire scene before Hancock Street reopened Monday evening.
No injuries were reported.