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Alleged serial arsonist arrested by Vancouver police after series of Mason hall fires

A 42-year-old man has been arrested in relation to the three fires that occurred in North Vancouver and Vancouver

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.

Police released new details regarding Tuesday’s arson investigation and a suspect’s subsequent arrest during a press conference held this afternoon.

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Cst. Tania Visintin says while a 42-year-old man is in police custody motive is still being established after Masonic halls in Vancouver and North Vancouver were set on fire this morning. As the man hasn't been charged yet, his identity isn't being released.

Visintin did add that police believe there is no further threat to do with the case.

Visintin addressed video currently circulating on social media showing a confrontation between an off-duty officer and a man carrying what appears to be a jerry can out front of the Mason hall at Rupert Street and East 29 Avenue around 7:30 am. However, she wouldn’t confirm that the man currently in police custody is the same as the man in the video.

"(The off-duty officer) did witness a man exit the building there, the building was partially on fire," Visintin said. "He confronted this man. A physical fight ensued."

The man got away, but the off-duty officer was able to call in the interaction to dispatch.

The man in police custody now was arrested just before 10 a.m. in Burnaby. Visintin said he does have a history with police.

"He's had interactions with police and I think there is something for criminal harassment in his past," she said.

Freemasons are a fraternal organization known for their secretive nature including symbols, passwords and other rituals.

ORIGINAL 1:30 p.m.

Vancouver police have arrested a 42-year-old man in relation to today's three fires at Mason Halls in North Vancouver and Vancouver.

A fire was reported to North Vancouver emergency services at 6:45 a.m. at the Lynn Valley Lodge, followed by a fire at Duke of Connaught Lodge around 7 a.m. A third fire was reported to Vancouver police just before 7:30 a.m., according to a press release from the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) at the Rupert Street and East 29 Avenue Masonic hall.

The police investigation that followed led officers to locate the suspect at North Fraser Way and Marine Way in Burnaby.

"This investigation unfolded very quickly," says Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP in the release. "We have a very good working relationship with our partners at Vancouver Police. By sharing information and coordinating our efforts we were able to move swiftly as new information became available."

Arson charges are being recommended by police.

No one was injured during the fires or the arrest, according to Cst. Tania Visintin of the VPD.

Anyone with information about the fires are asked to call police at 604-717-2521 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

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