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