SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — A 78-year-old man has been arrested in connection with a fire that destroyed the Elks Lodge in San Pedro, authorities announced Tuesday.
Nick Pecarich, of San Pedro, was booked on suspicion of arson, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department. He was being held on $500,000 bail.
The 35,000-square-foot lodge, which is located on a hill above the San Pedro harbor, was set ablaze on April 15. Most of the two-story building was ruined, except for an area used for gatherings, according to fire officials.
The suspect was apparently a member of the lodge, but was kicked out after an argument, according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
The Daily News also reported that Pecarich, who was allegedly in a psychiatric facility for the past few weeks, was spotted on security cameras filling a gas can at a gas station before the blaze. He also bought a lighter.
The fire was the second started on the property that week, which prompted officials to investigate whether it was intentionally set.
Pecarich is suspected of being the culprit of other vandalism incidents, according to the Daily News.
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino, who announced the arrest, vowed to rebuild the lodge.
“Here in San Pedro our hearts have been charred, but our spirit remains strong,” he said.
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