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Arrest made after arsons at 3 separate Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver

Click to play video: 'Man spotted with jerrycan near site of Masonic hall fire' Man spotted with jerrycan near site of Masonic hall fire
Video submitted to Global News appears to show someone leaving the scene of East Vancouver's fire on Tuesday morning. – Mar 30, 2021

A person has been arrested in relation to three arsons at Masonic halls in North Vancouver and Vancouver Tuesday, police confirmed.

The person, who has not been identified, was arrested in Burnaby, Vancouver police said in a statement.

“This was a joint collaboration with Vancouver Police and our partners at the North Vancouver RCMP,” Const. Tania Visintin with Vancouver police said in a release. “Officers were able to swiftly arrest the alleged suspect and we’re thankful that no one was physically harmed.”

Click to play video: 'Police investigate string of fires at Metro Vancouver Masonic lodges' Police investigate string of fires at Metro Vancouver Masonic lodges
Police investigate string of fires at Metro Vancouver Masonic lodges – Mar 30, 2021

The first fire broke out just before 6:45 a.m. at the Masonic centre located at 1371 Lynn Valley Road in North Vancouver.

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Then, just a few minutes later, RCMP and Fire Rescue Services were called to the Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64 (North Vancouver Masonic Centre) located at 1142 Lonsdale Avenue.

RCMP said the building was fully engulfed when they arrived on the scene.

The roof of the lodge appears to have collapsed and some of the walls have crumbled away, according to crews in the Global News helicopter.

Greg Schalk, Fire Chief and Public Safety Director for the City of North Vancouver, told reporters there appears to be smoke and water damage to some of the adjacent buildings but the fire did not spread to the other buildings.

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Photos of the Masonic Temple on Lonsdale Avenue. Credit: Jennifer Keenan .
Photos of the Masonic Temple on Lonsdale Avenue. Credit: Jennifer Keenan .
Photos of the Masonic Temple on Lonsdale Avenue. Credit: Jennifer Keenan .
Photos of the Masonic Temple on Lonsdale Avenue. Credit: Jennifer Keenan .
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In addition to the two fires in North Vancouver Tuesday morning, the Vancouver police later confirmed they are investigating an arson at the Masonic Hall near Rupert Street and East 29th Avenue.

VPD said officers will now be posted at all other Masonic halls in Vancouver.

A Masonic Temple or Masonic centre is a location where a group known as freemasons meet.

Click to play video: 'Fires break out at Masonic halls in North Vancouver' Fires break out at Masonic halls in North Vancouver
Fires break out at Masonic halls in North Vancouver – Mar 30, 2021

Right Worshipful Brother Dave Goddard, of the Freemasons of British Columbia and Yukon, told Global News he believes both the centres in North Vancouver have been destroyed.

He said they have not received any threatening calls or messages lately from anyone.

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“We’ve had a very good response from the public in general, we’ve had emails from other Grand Lodges around the country to see if we’re OK so there’s been a lot of compassion and empathy for us,” Goddard said.

He added, due to COVID, they have been unable to meet in those building for more than a year.

 

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