Rash Bar, a recently opened LGBTQ+ venue in Brooklyn, was targeted by an arsonist who set it ablaze on the evening of 3 April.
The suspect entered the venue, poured a bottle of flammable liquid on the floor and lit a match which set it ablaze, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) confirmed on 6 April.
The man in question quickly fled the scene.
“It’s so hard to believe and process,” Jake Sillen, one of the owners of Rash Bar, told NBC News. “It’s more confusing than anything.”
Three people were inside when the building became engulfed in flames, one of which was transported to a nearby hospital with minor burns.
Another was treated at the scene for their burns, the NYPD reported.
Claire Bendiner, another of the venue’s co-owners, had stepped outside moments before the fire was started.
“Everyone rushed out. The side door has a glass front, and I looked over and saw flames to the top of ceiling. It was crazy, it happened so fast,” she told NBC New York.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: On 4/3/22 at approx. 9:20 PM, inside Rash Bar 941, Willoughby Ave @NYPD83PCT Brooklyn. The suspect poured gasoline on the floor, lit it & fled the location. Two victims suffered injuries. Any info call us at 800-577-TIPS Reward up to $3,500 pic.twitter.com/a33Bun7sGA
— NYPD Crime Stoppers (@NYPDTips) April 7, 2022
The owners of Rash Bar have since launched a GoFundMe with a $200,000 goal to support its staff and restore the establishment, which has reportedly been left unrecognisable.
“We still don’t know what to make of this cruel act of violence,” the campaign explains. “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.”
The police’s investigation into the incident is ongoing and CCTV footage is under review.
You can donate to Rash Bar’s fundraiser here.