BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (PIX11) — A man entered an LGBTQ bar in Brooklyn and started a fire Sunday night, witnesses of the arson said.
Around 9:20 p.m., a man entered the Rash bar in Bushwick and poured gasoline on the floor and set the bar in flames, according to bar staff. The suspect immediately fled the scene.
“All the people in the bar suddenly rushed out screaming. I looked behind me … and there were enormous flames up to the ceiling. I was in disbelief,” said Rash owner Claire Bendiner.
Everyone inside was able to get out but two people were injured. One was taken to a hospital for treatment of a minor burn and the other was treated at the scene for minor injuries, according to the police.
“We still don’t know what to make of this cruel act of violence,” bar staff wrote in an Instagram post. “In only five short months we were privileged to become home to such a talented and vital community of artists. It breaks our hearts that anyone would seek to threaten that for any reason.”
Police are yet to release a description of the alleged arsonist and to make arrests in connection with the incident. It is unclear if they are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
“We’re not really sure what the motive was. It is a queer bar, so maybe that had something to do with it or maybe it was a disgruntled customer. I’m not really sure,” Bendiner said.
The fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, but the owners vow to rebuild and reopen the bar.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).