Fire destroys gay pride float in Anchorage

Fire destroys gay pride float in Anchorage

Fire destroys gay pride float in Anchorage

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by Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on July 4, 2010 at 12:43 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Anchorage authorities say they're investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a gay pride float intended for a 4th of July parade.

The fire Friday morning destroyed the float in a driveway where it was being constructed, as well as scorching two houses and destroying a garage.

Witnesses told investigators that moments before the fire began they saw someone running from the driveway, KTUU-TV reported.

The float's builders and neighbors say they fear a hate crime, but investigators say they haven't yet concluded the fire was caused by an arsonist.

"We're investigating right now. I'm putting all this together right now and I'm getting all kinds of information," said Anchorage fire Capt. Kevin Keene. "Until I confirm that, right now the fire is still under investigation."

The fire displaced homeowners. There was no immediate estimate of the damages. A finding that the fire was a result of arson would lead to a criminal investigation.

Float builder Scott Koeller said putting together a gay pride float in the driveway is an annual ritual, but this year's work is "all burned up, toasted."

It took 10 days to build the float, but builders said they'd try to improvise a new one using ashes and charred pieces, calling it "Phoenix Rising."

"It will be amazing, I'm sure, because everything was destroyed, everything," said Paula Butner, who along with her husband helps out yearly with the work. "All the signs and stuff we had, all of the boas, everything is gone."

 

 

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