Man charged in Vancouver Masonic hall arson; police still investigating North Shore fires

Fire crews battle a blaze at the Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64 (North Vancouver Masonic Centre) in North Vancouver on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Shane MacKichan)Fire crews battle a blaze at the Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64 (North Vancouver Masonic Centre) in North Vancouver on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Shane MacKichan)
Fire fighters attend a fire at a Masonic Temple in North Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, March 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan HaywardFire fighters attend a fire at a Masonic Temple in North Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, March 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
The aftermath of the fire at the Park Lodge Masonic Hall in Vancouver on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Shane MacKichan)The aftermath of the fire at the Park Lodge Masonic Hall in Vancouver on Tuesday, March 30, 2021. (Shane MacKichan)

A 42-year-old man has been charged with arson and assault in connection to set of fires at three Masonic Temples in Vancouver and North Vancouver on Tuesday (March 30) morning.

According to Vancouver police, charges were approved Wednesday against Benjamin Kohlman, 42. Kohlman has been charged with one count of arson and one count of assault of a police officer pertaining to the blaze at Park Lodge Masonic Hall at Rupert Street and East 29 Avenue. Firefighters said the fire was small, only in the lobby and did not engulf the building like what happened in the North Shore incidents. Two other suspected arsons, one at Lynn Valley Lodge and at the Duke of Connaught Lodge No. 64 (North Vancouver Masonic Centre, are still being investigated. All three first broke out within less than an hour, starting with the North Shore ones at about 6:45 a.m.

Const. Tania Visintin said that police anticipate recommending charges relating to the North Vancouver fires to Crown counsel in the coming weeks.

Kohlman will remain in custody until his next court appearance.

READ MORE: Man arrested after fires at three Masonic Temples in Vancouver, North Vancouver


@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

crimeVancouver