Additional arson charges laid against suspect in Masonic hall fires

VANCOUVER — Police say five more charges have been approved against a man accused of setting fire to three Masonic halls in Metro Vancouver last week.

Police say 42-year-old Benjamin Kohlman was charged Tuesday with two counts of arson and three counts of break and enter to commit arson after fires in Vancouver and North Vancouver.

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Police arrested Kohlman in nearby Burnaby within a few hours of the fires.

He was charged the following day with one count of arson in relation to the fire in Vancouver, as well as one count of assaulting a police officer.

All three fires were allegedly set in the span of an hour last Tuesday.

The first call came in at around 6:45 a.m. about a fire at the Lynn Valley Lodge in North Vancouver, while a second fire reported minutes later severely damaged a Masonic centre located four kilometres away.

Fire officials said the third fire at a Masonic hall in east Vancouver was reported around 7:30 a.m. and caused little damage.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 6, 2021.

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