Fire destroys former Masonic lodge

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Flames and smoke pour from the roof of the former Masonic Master Lodge Number 244 in East Knoxville on Saturday night. (Source: Knoxville Fire Department)

An abandoned building in East Knoxville was heavily damaged by a Saturday night fire and investigators were trying to determine the cause.

The former Masonic Master Lodge Number 244 at 2651 E. Magnolia Avenue had been thoroughly sealed up, but there were indications that someone had trespassed in the structure at some point, officials said.

“It appears that at some point some homeless had been in the building, we’re not sure how recently,” said Assistant Chief Mark Wilbanks of the Knoxville Fire Department. “The building was boarded up pretty well.”

When KFD crews were dispatched to the fire at 9:44 p.m., the first engine on the scene reported that heavy smoke was coming from the building. 

The blaze demanded a technically challenging firefighting effort due to the heavy involvement of the building’s second floor, Wilbanks said.

“There was a lot of fire and it took a long time for them to dig out looking for hot spots,” he explained.

No one was found inside the building, and investigators were trying to figure out what caused the fire.

“The building has sustained significant damage to the second floor—other floors of the building have sustained smoke and water damage due to the fire fighting efforts,” he said.

Published on October 24, 2022.