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  • Nic F. Anderson

Two Injured In Fire at NYC Queer Nightclub, Officials Say Arson

Photo of the inside of Rash after the fire | Photo via GoFundMe

On Sunday, April 3, two people were injured at Rash, a queer Brooklyn nightclub, after a suspected arsonist doused the floor with flammable liquid and lit a match. The queer community is shaken, as this is another one of several tragedies to happen in the community over the last year.

According to police, at approximately 9:20 p.m., an unidentified individual poured a bottle of flammable liquid, lit a match and ran from the scene. It took more than 60 firefighters to extinguish the blaze, according to the FDNY.

Two were injured in the fire and brought to Wyckoff Hospital. As of Tuesday, April 5, there have not been any arrests.

Those nearby the scene expressed shock and horror, stating it was “bad” and people were “covered in soot.”

Council Member for District 34, Jen Gutiérrez, tweeted: “2 workers were injured, tenants & patrons were forced out of Rash Bar after a fire was started. Just spoke with the 83rd, the suspect has not been apprehended yet. These spaces are crucial to our communities & in keeping our LGBTQIA+ neighbors safe.”

Following the event, the Rash instagram account posted a story saying that everyone was okay.

“We still don’t know what to make of this cruel act of violence. 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,” Rash wrote in the GoFundMe campaign.

Image of inside of Rash | Photo by Twitter user @youngsweetcorn / Used with permission

Brooklyn Brewery donated $5,000 with the message: “It is sickening to see this violence and hatred in our own neighborhood. Being in a public space as your authentic self should not mean putting your life at risk. Thank you for the joy and community you’ve created in this space.”

The NYC Office of Nightlife stated the office has reached out to Rash and are “supporting them through their recovery and re-opening.”

NYC Mayor Eric Adams tweeted: “Our hearts go out to the team at Rash and the entire LGBTQ+ community of Bushwick. While this incident is still being investigated, make no mistake: anyone who comes into my city looking to spread fear and hatred will pay the consequences.”

Due to the nature of arson, queer people of NYC and others are taking to social media to voice their concerns. New York City has seen an increase of 5% in anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes from the last year.

Image of FDNY outside of Rash after the blaze was extinguished

| Photo by Twitter user @petesassafrasss / Used with permission

Earlier this year, Bossa Nova Civic Club, another popular queer nightlife hotspot, closed indefinitely after a fire. The fire at Bossa Nova Civic Club started in a third floor apartment which gravely injured the tenant and killed their dog. The fire didn’t reach Bossa Nova Civic Club on the ground floor but sustained severe water damage. Several weeks prior, there was a stabbing in the club.

In the fall of 2021, two LGBTQ+ members were sent to the hospital after an anti-LGBTQ+ attack in a Bushwick deli and Bed Stuy queer bar C’Mon Everybody had a brick thrown through the window.

However, within the last few weeks, there have been several anti-LGBTQ+ attacks, both verbal and physical, around the city with a few of them making headlines.

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See: Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Crimes Increase 5% According to Preliminary NYPD Data

See: Man Caught on Video Assaulting Subway Rider; NYPD Offer Monetary Away For Tips Leading to Arrest

See: Long Island Man Pleads Guilty To Threatening To Bomb LGBTQ Events, Harm People

See: Teenager Verbally Attacked By Anti-LGBTQ Man On Manhattan Subway Platform

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