Pride Flag and 4 Baltimore Homes Set Aflame, Police Investigate as Hate Crime

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Screenshot:  WBALTV 11 (Fair Use)
Screenshot: WBALTV 11 (Fair Use)

In the Baltimore neighborhood of Charles Village, four homes were set on fire. Just a few feet away a Pride flag was set aflame, causing residents to wonder if the two fires were connected, according to NBC affiliate WBALTV. Mayor Brandon Scott asked the public for help and officials are investigating the incidents as a possible hate crime.

Around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, neighbors told WBALTV they heard glass breaking and debris falling into the street. Then, they saw the four houses engulfed in flames. Reports say two men, 74 and 57, as well as a 30-year-old woman were injured in the fires and taken to the hospital. The two men lived in the house where the fire started. Their entire home was gutted by the flames.

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Police say around the same time the house fires began, a Pride flag was set on fire across the street.

More from WBALTV:

“We are investigating it as a fire at this time. We brought in ATF as well to help us. So, right now, it is just under investigation,” Baltimore City Fire Chief Niles Ford said.

“Thinking about the implications of that. It doesn’t escape us that all of these types of things have happened across the nation, and I am shocked that something like this would happen in this neighborhood and in Baltimore. Charles village, Abell area was the first place that a lot of our LGBTQ community, you know, really felt comfortable and we want to keep it that way,” said Councilwoman Odette Ramos, D-District 14.

Police say they received another report of a Pride flag being burned last month. Baltimore has been carrying on Pride Month celebrations and still have more planned for the remainder of June. With the latest LGBT-targeted incidents by white supremacists, celebrating Pride has become uneasy and in some cases unsafe.

Mayor Scott said though these fires weren’t confirmed hate crimes, he will make sure his agencies “bring every appropriate resource to bear to get to the bottom of this tragic event.”

“The situation is an ongoing and joint investigation supported by ATF and the FBI. We will release additional information as it becomes available,” Scott said in a statement.