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Watch: Fires Set to Pride Decorations Burn Baltimore Homes, Leave 3 People Hospitalized

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Friday June 17, 2022

Watch: Fires Set to Pride Decorations Burn Baltimore Homes, Leave 3 People Hospitalized

Four homes were burned in a Baltimore arson attack that hospitalized three victims. Of the fires that were reportedly started, one was on a Pride flag, and another was on a home "adorned with Pride decorations," Pink News reported.

"The fire was set by the assailants on Wednesday morning (15 June) in Baltimore, Maryland, with three of the hospitalized said to have arrived in a critical condition," the outlet said.

"The victims include a 30-year-old woman and a 57-year-old man who are in critical condition, while a 74-year-old man is in serious condition," LGBTQ Nation said in an early report.

Updated reports indicated that two of the burn victims had been discharged from hospital care. A tweet from reporter Mike Hellgren at local CBS affiliate WJZ cited City Council member Odette Ramos as saying that four fires in all had been started, all deliberately: "the townhomes, Pride flag and a car and dumpster." Ramos also lives on the block where the fires were started.

The blaze was set in the early morning hours when the victims were asleep, the report said.

Neighborhood residents expressed their anger on camera. One neighbor, Ralph Moore, told WJZ, "Hate has been unleashed in their country — and people have been emboldened to act on their hate."

"People are just trying to live their lives," another neighbor, identified only as Vonnie, told the news crew, "and this is a place where people are comfortable."

At least one expression of support for the LGBTQ+ community was left in chalk outside one of the damaged townhouses.

WJZ reported that authorities believe two Pride flags on the same street were specifically targeted by the arsonists, with a third home being attacked because of its Pride-themed decorations. It was this latter residence where the three injured people lived.

At least one of the homes has been totally destroyed, with another home badly damaged. Reports were unclear as to how much damage the other two homes suffered.

WJZ noted that, according to a police spokesperson, "the fire is being treated as a case of malicious burning."

However, Police Commissioner Michael Harrison declined to state that the arson attacks were motivated by hate, saying at a news briefing, "This is an ongoing investigation to determine facts, to determine the cause, and right now, we're not prepared or equipped to determine cause or the facts of how it started," WJZ reported.

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott similarly declined to state that the fires were bias-motivated, but did say that the city's "agencies will bring every appropriate resource to bear to get to the bottom of this tragic event."

"Regardless," Mayor Scott added, "I continue to stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community."

Council member Ramos told WJZ, "We know that similar events have happened across the nation, and so that I think that amplifies the concern."

Ramos added: "I know all the resources that the city and federal government has brought to bear. We'll find out what happened and make sure it doesn't happen again."

Watch the WJZ news clip below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.