Fire damages Baker Masonic building

Photo submitted by the Baker Fire DepartmentBaker Fire Department Capt. Mark Adams exits the smoke-filled first floor of the Baker Masonic Hall on Groom Road after firefighters extinguished a blaze in the two-story building. The building once housed the Baker branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library. Show caption
Photo submitted by the Baker Fire DepartmentBaker Fire Department Capt. Mark Adams exits the smoke-filled first floor of the Baker Masonic Hall on Groom Road after firefighters extinguished a blaze in the two-story building. The building once housed the Baker branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library.

A smoldering fire in Baker Masonic Lodge 441’s hall caused heavy smoke and heat damage to the interior Wednesday morning.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation Wednesday night.

The first floor of the two-story building at 4807 Groom Road once housed the Baker branch of the East Baton Rouge Parish Library, but the Masons converted it to a dining area after the library moved to a new building in April 2001.

Baker Fire Department spokesman Howard Ward said firefighters arrived shortly after 10:20 a.m. and found smoke coming from a window at the rear of the structure.

Firefighters had to break through a door to enter the building but quickly extinguished the blaze, Ward said.

The fire apparently originated on or near a small table under the rear window, Ward said.

Arson investigators with the Baton Rouge Fire Department were assisting in the investigation.

Fire Chief Danny Edwards said someone started a fire in a pump house adjacent to a city water well near the Masonic building, but the fire did not cause any damage to the structure, which has concrete-block walls.