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Quincy Masonic temple fire ruled an accident

No sprinklers installed in 1920s building

Firefighters battled a blaze at the Quincy Masonic temple, and returned Tuesday to ensure it did not spark up again.

Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

Firefighters battled a blaze at the Quincy Masonic temple, and returned Tuesday to ensure it did not spark up again.

The cause of the four-alarm fire that ravaged the historic Masonic temple in Quincy Monday has been identified as an accident by State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan’s office, officials said.

On Monday, workmen were grinding and cutting into ductwork in the basement of the Hancock Street building when sparks generated by the metal cutting ignited nearby insulation, said Jennifer Mieth, a spokeswoman for Coan.

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The temple, which was built in the 1920s, did not have any sprinklers installed, Mieth said.

“It’s sad to lose historical value due to a lack of sprinklers,” she said.

Firefighters were on scene Tuesday morning to make sure the fire did not flare up again, said Quincy Deputy Fire Chief Jeffrey Starr.

One section of the building, including what the Masons call the lodge, has been destroyed, but the front of the temple may be salvaged, Starr said.

A dollar estimate on the damage is not available, but would be significant, given the historical value of the building and its contents, said Meith.

The building was in the process of being sold, and leaders of the lodge said Monday that the fire consumed historic relics and photographs of the organization.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.
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