There is new information regarding a possible hate crime attack against a Black-owned salon in Brooklyn, as surveillance video shows a man who police believed scrawled swastikas with spray paint before setting the building on fire.
Security video from the middle of the night shows tenants climbing down the fire escape of their Myrtle Avenue building in Fort Greene, awoken from their sleep and desperate to escape the growing fire inside.
"We went out the fire escape, it was really really terrifying," said Claire Chatinover, who lives in the building. She and Jake Fernberg were seen on the video, along with another couple, as firefighters began battling the flames.
When the smoke cleared, the salon on the first floor was badly damaged, with equipment charred and pipes busted — but that was not all.
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"Then they realized there were two swastikas in red in the hallway and the accelerant on the back wall going towards the salon," said the building owner, who did not want to be identified.
He said he could imagine anyone who would want to target the business, Salon Rhed, or his building. Surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant showed a hooded figure walking back and forth in front of the salon shortly before the fire started.
"This is completely outrageous, people could have died," the owner said.
The FDNY fire marshal ruled the fire was a result of arson, and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating. Meanwhile, the building's tenants and the salon have been temporarily forced out.
"Mentally, it’s terrifying to be part of an apartment that’s questionably part of a hate crime, and both being Jewish, knowing the salon owner is Black," said Chatinover.
An anonymous source is offering a $5,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction.