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Friday, December 25, 2020

UPDATED: Christmas Fire Burns Prince Hall GL of Rhode Island Masonic Temple

Photo: WLNE


by Christopher Hodapp

(This story has been updated on January 2, 2021.)

Fire broke out early Christmas morning at the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Rhode Island's headquarters in Providence. According to news reports, the fire started in the basement of the building and spread quickly throughout the structure, whipped by strong winds. The three-alarm fire was described by the local public safety commissioner as "stubborn," and some 59 firefighters were eventually called to the scene to battle the blaze.



No one is known to have been in the building, and there are no reported injuries. Preliminary judgement by local fire officials is that the building will likely be a total loss. 

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The Masonic hall at 883 Eddy Street in Providence is also the home of Celestial Lodge No. 2 PHA. It had been crowded with people on Thursday for the lodge's annual Christmas toy drive. 

The MW Prince Hall Grand Lodge F&AM of Rhode Island has been located on Eddy Street since its very beginnings in 1858.

UPDATE:

WB Richard Lynch, the Curator and Librarian for the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island F&AM passed along additional photographs of the damage to the building after the fire. 

His message read, in part:
"Our Grand Master M:.W:.Gary Kaufman has been in contact with M:.W:.Clarence Snead of Prince Hall and the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island has offered our building and our Scottish Rite Temple to the use of the brothers of Prince Hall. We will also be supporting them financially in their time of need."









On Thursday, December 31st, a story on the WJAR TV-10 website announced that the Prince Hall Masons are accepting donations to rebuild:

"The fires in our community continue to burn, and without Prince Hall Masonry here in the south side of Providence, we may not be able to address some of those issues that we've been addressing over the years," Bennett said.

The lodge was used for charity purposes like toy, clothing and food drives, community events and special meetings.

"It's not just about the 120 Masons we have here today. It's about the thousands of members that we had over the last hundred years," Bennett said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, and officials with the Prince Hall Masons say they're hopeful the fire was an accident.


Donations can be sent to the Prince Hall Capital Campaign Fund, P.O. Box 27900, Providence, RI 02907 or made through GoFundMe.
 


21 comments:

  1. Very sad news indeed. Fraternal Greetings from Lodge Burns Dundonald 1759, in the Province of Ayrshire. Grand Lodge Of Scotland.��

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  2. On the behalf of Beacon Light #76 MWPHGLNY I send our prayers 🤲🏿🤲🏿🤲🏿📿📿📿

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  3. Our Good whishes go out to you at this time Brothers I truly hope you are able to recover from this loss of your temple.

    Provincial Grand Secretary Perthshire East.

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  4. Sad, very sad news ! We send you our brotherly salutations.
    Max Herviou-Jumentier
    RL Fraternité Ecossaise
    Montauban
    FRANCE

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  5. We of Boyer Lodge #1 MWPHGLNY sends our blessings to our brethren...We must rebuild Phamily

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  6. I would like to know if the loss is covered by insurance and the plans for rebuilding in a follow up story. Thanks Chris and team!

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  7. It would be a dramatic situation if this historic hall cannot be saved...

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  8. My condolences to your Brethren and family's it is so sad to see a beautiful lodge building destroyed hopping your lodge will rise again. Bill PM103 SC

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  9. our hearts go out to all of the brothers sisters of that temple

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  10. Very sad sorry for your loss .

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  11. This is a very sad news to hear about our Prince Hall Family. We send our prayers from the MWPHGL of Nebraska. MWGM Freddie Clopton

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  12. Very sad news ! With my fraternal greetings, from Brussels, Belgium.

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  13. Terrible news. Many condolences from all in Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1705. UGLE.

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  14. How very sad. My thoughts and prayers go out to my Brothers. I hope that you are able to recover and rebuild soon.
    Len Segal, Blue Hill Lodge, Stoughton, MA

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  15. Sad news sorry for your loss my Brothers. Fraternal greetings from whiteway lodge at John’s, Newfoundland Canada

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  16. Fraternal Greetings from Greensboro Lodge #76 A. F. & A. M. Greensboro Lodge. We are saddened to hear of the loss of your building. Prayers for you and may you be able to recover quickly. Ray Hall-Master

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  17. Very sorry to hear this news Bro Sneed and I are college classmates from Grambling

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  18. Very sad news, Brothers. It is a blessing that it appears no one was injured, though I am most certain many precious items were lost. My you rebuild with strength. From Baltimore, Maryland, Alex Barenblitt, P.M. Amicable-St.Johns Lodge #24 A.F. & A.M.

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  19. If I can be of any small assistance please ask.

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  20. If they can repair instead of rebuild, hopefully that will include removing that aluminum siding and restoring the older siding. That would be a beautiful building and a profound statement when so many new lodge buildings are just steel pre-fabrications or cinder blocks.

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