AURORA, Ill. (CBS) — The Lincoln Masonic Temple in Aurora went up in flames late Monday night, and firefighters spent more than nine hours extinguishing the blaze.
The fire started around 10 p.m. Monday at the nearly 100-year-old temple, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but has been vacant for about 10 years.
Police blocked most of the roads leading to the building, but from a distance smoke and firefighters using a ladder truck to try to put out the flames could be seen working to douse the flames.
Five nearby homes also were evacuated during the blaze.
The fire was extinguished by about 7:30 a.m., but firefighters warned that people should avoid the area, because of hot spots that still posed a danger.
7:30 A.M.: The Aurora Fire Department has extinguished the catastrophic fire at the historic Masonic Temple at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Benton Street.
HOT SPOTS ARE VERY ACTIVE, AND THE SITE IS STILL DANGEROUS. PLEASE AVOID THE AREA.
— City of Aurora, IL (@CityofAuroraIL) October 8, 2019
The Aurora fire chief said much of the fifth floor of the historic building was on fire when crews first arrived at about 10 p.m. and parts of the building collapsed at least three times as firefighters were trying to put out the flames. Some of that debris fell on a power line.
The overnight fire was so intense that more than 400 people lost power overnight.
A ComEd map shows some were back online a few hours later.
The building was built in 1922, but it has been abandoned for some time now.
The cause of the fire is still unclear, and there is concern the building is now too unstable for crews to go in and attempt to determine a cause.