Suspect arrested after 3 fires at Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver
VANCOUVER -- A suspect has been arrested in connection to a series of arsons at three Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver, police say.
Vancouver police issued a statement shortly after 1 p.m. Tuesday announcing a 42-year-old man was arrested in Burnaby. Arson charges are being recommended to Crown counsel, police say.
The arrest comes after fire crews and police were called to three separate blazes at Masonic halls Tuesday morning. Two were in North Vancouver while the third was in Vancouver.
"This was a joint collaboration with Vancouver police and our partners at the North Vancouver RCMP," said Const. Tania Visintin in the news release.
"Officers were able to swiftly arrest the alleged suspect and we’re thankful that no one was physically harmed."
The suspect was arrested near North Fraser Way and Marine Way, police say.
"This investigation unfolded very quickly," says Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. "We have a very good working relationship with our partners at Vancouver Police. By sharing information and co-ordinating our efforts we were able to move swiftly as new information became available."
One fire was reported at about 7 a.m. near Lonsdale Avenue and 11th Street East in a multi-unit building that has a Masonic hall. Images from the scene showed flames coming from the windows above a street-level business.
A second fire was also reported at a Masonic lodge in Lynn Valley, east of Mountain Highway. Shortly before 9 a.m., the District of North Vancouver confirmed that fire had been put out but investigators remained on scene.
Meanwhile, a fire at a Masonic hall in Vancouver on Rupert Street and 29th Avenue was also part of the police investigation. Crews were notified of the three fires between 6:45 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.
Images obtained by CTV News Vancouver show a person walking near the Vancouver Masonic lodge carrying a gas can. Flames are visible inside the door of the hall. Another image shows a man pointing a gun at another individual. A source has told CTV News Vancouver the man holding the gun is a plainclothes officer.
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call 604-717-2521. Tips can also be left anonymously with Crime Stoppers.
With files from CTV News Vancouver's Penny Daflos and David Molko