‘Flames to the ceiling’
BUSHWICK, Brooklyn (PIX11) – A hooded arsonist poured gasoline on the floor of a New York bar on Sunday and set it on fire. The suspect is described as a 20 to 30 year old male. According to police, he is about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. It is unclear whether police are investigating the attack as a hate crime.
The owner of Rash Bar, an LGBTQ bar in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood, said the suspect started the fire shortly before 9:30 p.m., scaring patrons from the establishment. “Everyone in the bar suddenly rushed in screaming. I looked behind me and there were huge flames all the way up to the ceiling,” owner Claire Bendiner told sister station NEWS10 in New York. “I was in disbelief.”
Footage released Wednesday by the New York Police Department shows the suspect spilling fuel inside the bar while another person stands in the background, apparently unconscious. The suspect ignites the fuel with a lighter, starting a violent fire.
Police say two customers, a 23-year-old woman and a 25-year-old woman, were injured in the fire. They suffered minor burns and were taken to a nearby hospital in stable condition.
The fire caused hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, but the owners have vowed to rebuild and reopen the bar. “We don’t really know what the motive was,” Bendiner said. “It’s a weird bar so maybe it had something to do with it or maybe it was a disgruntled customer.”