Three fires reported at Masonic lodges in North Vancouver, Vancouver

City News 1130

NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Three separate fires broke out at Masonic lodges in North Vancouver and Vancouver Tuesday morning.

Vancouver police have confirmed crews are dealing with what’s believed to be a case of arson at the lodge on Rupert Street and East 29th Avenue. 

Officers are being posted at other Masonic buildings in the city as police look for a suspect or suspects.

This comes after two fires were also reported on the North Vancouver around 7 a.m.

One of the fires — at Lynn Valley Road and Harold Road — is now out, but the other along Lonsdale Avenue between 12th and 13th continues to burn.

“There are quite a few fire trucks on scene,” lawyer Hollis Luck told NEWS 1130 Tuesday of the fire at the Lonsdale lodge. “They are trying to put it out but the smoke is billowing — it’s higher than the 16 storey condo next to it.”

Luck describes significant flames coming out of the roof of the building, adding “it’s crumbling down.”

“It’s hard to tell if it’s from the fire or from the efforts of the firefighters — could be a bit of both — but it’s an older building and right now the pressure of the water is crumbling the second storey and that’s starting to come down completely. It almost looks now like it’s becoming a one-storey building,” Luck added.

The fire at Lynn Valley Road and Harold Road started around 6:45 a.m. and was reported before the one on Lonsdale, according to the RCMP.

While crews have been able to put the Lynn Valley fire out, the blaze left quite some damage to the front of the building.

“We’re still in the very early stages of this investigation,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. “As the investigation unfolds, we hope we’ll get a better understanding of the cause of the fires, whether or not they are related — and obviously they seem related, but we need to follow the evidence and we haven’t had a chance to establish that evidence to connect these two yet — and whether or not these were in fact the result of an arson.”

DeVries hopes this information will come to light in the coming days.

“If it turns out that the evidence tells us that these were targeted attacks then, of course, that adds an element to this investigation. But we haven’t established that yet,” DeVries said. “It’s alarming for people, obviously, when two fires like this happen in their community and we’re very grateful for the fire services that we have here who were very quickly on scene.”

The VPD has also confirmed it’s working alongside the RCMP to see if there are any links between the three fires.

DeVries notes the fires come at an already difficult time, just days after a string of stabbings at the Lynn Valley Library that left one person dead.

“It’s been a hard few days for North Vancouver, for sure,” he said, noting the Lynn Valley fire is just up the street from where Saturday’s attack took place. “These kinds of things are straining our community, but I know that we are strong as a community and when these types of things happen what we do is we come together as a community. You can see that in the response from North Van’s emergency services, including the fire department and the police here.”

Mounties are looking to speak with anyone who may have seen anything suspicious between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. around the areas of Lonsdale between 11th and 8th streets, and Lynn Valley Road between Mountain Highway and Allen Road. You can contact the North Vancouver RCMP at 604.985.1311.

Road closures remain in place.

Three fires reported at Masonic lodges in North Vancouver, Vancouver

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