Warren Stuart, president of the non-profit Eureka Society that operates the Masonic hall in Langley City, said some historical items have been relocated after three other Freemasons halls in Metro Vancouver were targets of arson attacks. (Langley Advance Times file)

Warren Stuart, president of the non-profit Eureka Society that operates the Masonic hall in Langley City, said some historical items have been relocated after three other Freemasons halls in Metro Vancouver were targets of arson attacks. (Langley Advance Times file)

Arson attacks on Masonic halls leads Langley City hall to relocate historic items

“Abundance of caution’ in wake of three arson attacks, said local president

Warren Stuart, president of the non-profit Eureka Society that operates the Masonic hall in Langley City, said some historical items have been relocated “out of an abundance of caution” after three other Freemasons halls in Vancouver and the North Shore were targets of arson attacks.

“The irreplaceable stuff,” is how Stuart described the historic documents and photographs and other artifacts to the Langley Advance Times.

“We’ve got it stored off-site.”

Stuart said Langley RCMP has also advised him patrols of the area around the 94-year-old building at at 20701 Fraser Hwy. were being stepped up.

As well, the hall has, for some time, had an alarm system that includes security video, Stuart disclosed.

He said members are making a point of “keeping an eye on things” by swinging by on their vehicles to check on the building, which has been idled by the pandemic.

“None of the lodges have been allowed to meet, even, for more than a year,” Stuart commented.

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

Three fires were set at Masonic halls in North Vancouver and Vancouver between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 30.

A suspect was located and arrested in Burnaby.

On Wednesday, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) announced charges were approved by B.C. Prosecution Services following an investigation into an arson at a Masonic hall .

Benjamin Kohlman, 42, was charged with one count of arson and one count of assault a police officer pertaining to the Vancouver file.

“The two arsons that occurred in North Vancouver yesterday are still under investigation,” VPD Const Tania Visintin said. “We anticipate recommending more charges to Crown counsel in the coming weeks related to the North Vancouver files.”

Kohlman will remain in custody until his next court appearance.

READ ALSO: Higher property assessment could mean closure of Langley City Masonic hall, director warns

The blaze at Park Lodge Masonic Hall at Rupert Street and East 29th Avenue in Vancouver was limited to the building lobby and did not engulf the building like the North Shore incidents at Lynn Valley Lodge and at the Duke of Connaught Lodge.

All three fires broke out within less than an hour.

Is there more to the story? Email: dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

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