Click here for the newest developments in this story. Two 11-year-old Quincy boys are accused of setting the fire that destroyed this historic property.
Quincy firefighters spent much of Thursday night battling a 5-alarm apartment fire near 5th and Maple in Quincy.
While the property was vacant and no injuries were reported, the Quincy Fire Department says the structure at 1501 5th Street is a total loss.
Crews were inside the structure for awhile trying to fight it, but once that became too dangerous, they evacuated the house.
"The incident commander gave them a few minutes to see if they could make some headway, they weren't able to make enough from a safety perspective, so we pulled them out of the building and went to that 5th alarm. At that point it became a defensive fire which is just getting firefighters surrounding it and trying to stop the spread of the fire," Fire Chief Joe Henning said.
There are two main buildings in this complex, but fire crews were able to contain the fire to the south side.
Crews used water to set up a continual barrier to protect the building at 1507.
Neal and Toni Hemming purchased the property, formally used as the Anna Brown Home, with the intention to modernize the apartments. The couple says they fell in love with the property and wanted to make it into a nice place to live.
"You still don't think it can really be on fire. Then I was on my way here, I could see the smoke already. By the time I got here I knew it was probably gone already because the south side of the building had flames completely engulfing the second and third floors already," Toni Hemming said.
1st Ward Alderman, Lexze Mann was one of the first people on scene before firefighters got there.
"Fire was shooting out of the top when I got here, and I kind of figured it would be a total loss. Within 30 minutes it was pretty much fully engulfed," Alderman Lexze Mann said.
Several neighbors reported having seen kids running from the building after the fire started. Police and firefighters could not confirm this information.
Investigators were on scene Thursday night, but no cause has been determined.
The Hemmings are suspicious about the fire as they dealt with an attempted arson attempt at the 1507 property recently.
"No utilities connected to it whatsoever, there's no reason for there to be a fire unless it was an arson attempt," Neal Hemming said.
The building was built as a private home for Charles and Anna Brown in 1877.
It later became the Anna Brown Home for the Aged.
In 1901, the size of the property was doubled and a breezeway was built to connect the two buildings.
Sometime between the late 60s and the early 70s, residents of the Anna Brown home were moved to the newly dedicated Anna Brown Wing of the Good Samaritan Home.
Owners Neal and Toni Hemming purchased the property on December 31, 2011.