Masonic Lodge collapses in New Bloomfield

Bad news tonight for the owners of the historic building that collapsed in New Bloomfield. An adjuster visited the site today and told them the insurance company won't pay a dime because the policy only covered wind and fire damage. The Masonic Lodge crumbled to the ground around 6 p.m. Thursday, sending bricks and debris onto Route J and the front porches of apartments across the street. Mike Backer, who attends the Lodge, says the 43 members will have a hard enough time just coming up with money to clean up the collapsed building, yet alone financing a rebuild. Had the building collapsed just hours later, during the strong thunderstorms, the insurance company would have covered the losses, according to Backer. Backer said the group noticed a crack in the exterior stucco recently, so the group called contractors to give estimates on fixing the crack and reinforcing the walls.

One such contractor stopped by on Tuesday to look over the building and another contractor, HandyMan Solutions, was scheduled to inspect it Friday morning.

"We were told is was mostly cosmetic," Matthew Burnett of HandyMan Solutions said. "We thought we were being called out to replace some bricks. We didn't know the building was going to fall." "We were glad that our guys were not up on scaffolding when the building collapsed," Burnett continued. "When a building collapses it shoots a lot of debris out at the base and it would have knocked over the scaffolding and we could have lost of couple of guys.Just an hour and a half before the building collapsed a member of the masonic lodge was inside the building to get a set of keys. As the member left, he barricaded the door because he felt the building was not safe. Backer reports that the leaders of the lodge have gone through the rubble and recovered a safe that contained the history of the lodge, which dates back to its founding in 1854.