“To whoever committed this act we will rebuild it better and brighter.”
According to a report from CNN, an LGBTQ+ Pride lifeguard tower in Long Beach, CA was burned down in a suspected act of hate.
The tower, which was painted last year in honour of Pride Month, was found engulfed in flames in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Taking to Twitter, the Long Beach Fire Department released a statement regarding the incident.
“[On Tuesday morning] fire resources responded to the Pride Lifeguard Tower full engulfed,” the organisation tweeted.
“LGBTQ members of the Marine Safety division painted the tower during Pride month last year. The tower served as a symbol of our strong support for diversity within our ranks & community.”
The tower will be replaced and repainted by Lifeguards. The source of the fire is under investigation.
— Long Beach Fire (CA) (@LBFD) March 23, 2021
Mayor of Long Beach, Robert Garcia, expressed his sadness with the fire, stating he has “little doubt this was an act of hate.”
“To whoever committed this act we will rebuild it better and brighter,” Garcia tweeted.
The burning of the lifeguard stand would be the first time for the city in 70 years.
Lifeguard Jeremy Rocha spoke with CBS News about feeling heartbroken due to the tower being vandalised.
“I cried, I was pretty emotional with what happened. I just couldn’t really fathom the fact that it had burned down,” he stated.
A new tower is expected to be delivered over the next four to six weeks and will be repainted in Pride colours by the city’s lifeguards.
Last night, our PRIDE lifeguard station that was painted by LGBTQ+ lifeguards, burned down. The fire is under investigation but I personally have little doubt this was an act of hate. To whoever committed this act, we will rebuild it better and brighter. pic.twitter.com/VxNQZgCBpF
— Robert Garcia (@RobertGarcia) March 23, 2021