Elks Lodge Arson Suspect Held on $500K Bail

Firefighters were able to save a 109-year-old Bible and other valuable items from the flames

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Arson investigators on Wednesday, April 16, 2014 gather near rubble after an Elks Lodge in San Pedro was destroyed in a fire.

    A man was arrested in connection with an arson fire that destroyed the bulk of an Elks Lodge in San Pedro, city and fire officials said Tuesday.

    Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino joined Los Angeles Fire Deputy Chief Donald Frazeur at a news conference Tuesday to announce the arrest.

    Elks Lodge Fire Being Investigated as Arson

    [LA] Elks Lodge Fire Being Investigated as Arson
    As investigators begin combing through the scene of the Elk Lodge fire in San Pedro, local event venues offered support to clients left without a place to celebrate. Hetty Chang reports from San Pedro for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. (Published Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014)

    Nick Pecarich, a 78-year-old San Pedro resident, was arrested Tuesday afternoon in connection with the fire and was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail, Frazeur said.

    Fire Rips Through Elks Lodge

    [LA] Fire Rips Through Elks Lodge
    Investigators are looking into whether the fire that destroyed most of the Elks Lodge in San Pedro was set on purpose. Hetty Chang reports from San Pedro for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014)

    The lodge, located on a hillside, was engulfed in flames April 15. The bulk of the 35,000-square-foot, two-story building was destroyed, with the exception of an area used for gatherings and rituals, fire officials said.

    Sources confirmed to NBC4 Pecarich was allegedly seen at a gas station purchasing a lighter and five gallons of gasoline about 30 minutes before the fire broke out.

    Firefighters Save Elks Lodge's Treasured Items

    [LA] Firefighters Save Elks Lodge's Treasured Items
    Firefighters save several items, including a Bible, from a fire that damaged an Elks Lodge building. Toni Guinyard reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Tuesday April 15, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014)

    "Here in San Pedro, our hearts have been charred, but our spirit remains strong," Buscaino said. "We will rebuild this lodge bigger and better."

    Firefighters were able to save a 109-year-old Bible that has been part of ceremonies at the lodge, as well as several other items that officials said were irreplaceable.

    Bible Saved From Elks Lodge Fire

    [LA] Bible Saved From Elks Lodge Fire
    The Exalted Leader of a San Pedro Elks Lodge thanks firefighters for saving a Bible and other cherished items from a fire. Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Tuesday April 15, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014)

    Fifty employees were displaced by the blaze, officials said.

    "Suspicious" Elks Lodge Fire Damages Building

    [LA] "Suspicious" Fire at San Pedro Elks Lodge
    Firefighters describe the fight against a fire early Tuesday in San Pedro. Battalion Chief Steve Ruda of the Los Angeles Fire Department called the structure an "iconic San Pedro landmark." Toni Guinyard reports for Today in LA on Tuesday April 15, 2014. (Published Tuesday, Apr 15, 2014)

    Authorities would not answer requests from NBC4 about whether Pecarich had obtained a lawyer. Police could not confirm reports Pecarich was a former Elks Lodge member.

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