On Tuesday (1/17/23), the Connecticut State Police announced they'd arrested 23-year-old Gino DeGrandis of Vernon, CT.

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Police say DeGrandis was responsible for a fire at an Ellington, CT Masonic Lodge on Saturday January 7, 2023. According to the CT Post, the blaze was set at the Fayette Lodge No. 69 at 141 Orchard Street early Saturday, the 7th. Fire crews were able to successfully battle the blaze and no one was injured in the incident. According to multiple reports, authorities quickly determined the fire was set intentionally.

Authorities released surveillance images to the public seeking their help in identifying the man they say was responsible for the inferno. Cops say they were able to determine DeGrandis was the man in question and he was arrested on Friday (1/13/23). Connecticut State Police worked with the Vernon PD and tracked DeGrandis down at his home on Prospect Street. DeGrandis was arrested and taken into custody Friday. His bond was set at $100,000 after being charged with arson and criminal mischief.

The Arrest affidavit is fascinating to say the least. The document details the actions caught on surveillance camera, and a whole lot more. The affidavit says that DeGrandis himself called 911 at 8:27 am, the day after the fire was set. The report says DeGrandis asked that an officer be dispatched to 36 Hale St. Extension in the Town of Vernon because "he was a freemason and his mother wouldn't talk to him." 

When the dispatched officer arrived, he says DeGrandis was standing in front of the address wearing the exact same clothing as the suspect in the fire surveillance footage from 01/07/2023.

So, you (allegedly) light the Local Free Mason Lodge ablaze, you go home and you don't change your clothes for 24 hours? I'm no crime expert, but I'd like to believe I'd change my clothes before I talk to the police about the three tenets of Freemasonry.

In all seriousness, I hope this young fella gets help if he needs it.

P.S. Three tenets are brotherly love, relief and truth. I learned that on a 2022 field trip to my local lodge.

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The Danbury Free Masons meet in a building at 337 Main Street. The building was originally the Meeker mansion. The Meekers were the prominent Danbury family who ran Meeker's Hardware. It's worth noting, that a separate Masonic Lodge is headquartered in the same building, Lodge 39. Lodge 39 is originally from Georgetown, CT but when their member numbers dwindled, they sold their building and moved to Danbury. 

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