Update: Arson suspect charged after fires at three Masonic halls in North Vancouver and Vancouver

    1 of 1 2 of 1

      Update (March 31):

      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) announced today (March 31) that B.C. Prosecution Services has approved charges for an arson at a Masonic hall in Vancouver yesterday.

      The VPD stated that 42-year-old Benjamin Kohlman has been charged with one count of arson and one count of assault against a police officer in Vancouver.

      The Vancouver fire was one of three fires set yesterday (March 30), with two others set at Masonic halls in North Vancouver.

      VPD spokesperson Const. Tania Visintin stated that the two arsons in North Vancouver remain under investigation.

      Original article (March 30):

      While the Lower Mainland has been recovering from the shock of stabbing attacks in North Vancouver that involved several victims on the weekend, a series of fires erupted this morning across Metro Vancouver, including in North Vancouver. 

      Shortly before 6:45 a.m., North Vancouver Fire Rescue Services and RCMP responded to notification about a fire at the Lynn Valley Lodge (1371 Lynn Valley Road) near Harold Road. Fire crews were able to contain the blaze.

      Only a few minutes later at 7 a.m., emergency responders were also notified about a second fire at the Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64 (the North Vancouver Masonic Centre) at 1142 Lonsdale Avenue. The building was engulfed with flames as fire crews fought the blaze.

      As if that wasn’t enough, a third fire was reported just before 7:30 a.m. at the Park Lodge Masonic Hall at 4474 Rupert Street at East 29th Avenue in East Vancouver.

      The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) stated in a news release that investigative efforts led police to Burnaby where officers arrested a 42-year-old male suspect near North Fraser Way and Marine Way in Burnaby.

      Police will recommend arson charges to Crown counsel.

      Anyone who has information about these fires is asked to call North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311 or the VPD at 604-717-2521, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook.