ottawa-090611-aylmer-church

Fire tore through St. Paul's Catholic Church in the Gatineau community of Aylmer on June 11.

Gatineau police have arrested a man in relation to a fire that gutted St. Paul's Catholic Church in Gatineau's Aylmer sector in June.

Officers executed a search warrant of the man's home this morning, said police spokesperson Isabelle Poirier. Poirier said investigators will question the man – and witnesses –  on Wednesday afternoon, at which point they will decide whether to press charges.

Police would not identify the man, except to say that he's in his fifties and lives in the Aylmer sector of Gatineau.

The fire became a suspected arson when police found empty gas cans and evidence of forced entry at the scene.

Warden 'pleased' with arrest

Richard Bégin, a warden at St. Paul's church, said he hasn't given much thought to the police arson investigation in the months since the fire because he's been focused on developing a plan to rebuild the 120-year-old church.

"We are pleased, like everybody in Aylmer, to know that somebody has been arrested, so that if this person is really guilty it won't happen again."

On Monday, St. Paul's will launch a design competition to help rebuild the church structure. Bégin said the congregation hopes to restore the church's exterior to its original appearance and to create more space inside the building for community meetings, concerts and theatre performances.