Swastikas found inside charred living room, fire ruled arson – NBC New York

There is new information about a possible hate crime attack on a black-owned salon in Brooklyn, as surveillance video shows a man who police say scribbled swastikas with spray paint before set fire to the building.

Middle-of-the-night security video shows tenants descending the fire escape from their Myrtle Avenue apartment building in Fort Greene, awakened from their sleep and desperate to escape the growing fire inside.

“We went out by the fire escape, it was really very terrifying,” said Claire Chatinover, who lives in the building. She and Jake Fernberg were seen on video, along with another couple, as firefighters began to battle the flames.

When the smoke cleared, the first floor lounge was badly damaged, with charred fittings and broken pipes – but that’s not all.

“Then they realized that there were two swastikas in red in the hallway and the accelerator on the back wall going towards the living room,” said the owner of the building, who did not want be identified.

He said he could imagine anyone wanting to target the business, Salon Rhed, or his building. Surveillance footage from a nearby restaurant showed a hooded figure walking back and forth outside the lounge shortly before the fire started.

“It’s completely outrageous, people could have died,” the owner said.

The FDNY fire marshal ruled the fire was the result of arson, and the NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating. Meanwhile, tenants of the building and the salon have been temporarily evicted.

“Mentally, it’s terrifying to be part of an apartment that’s arguably part of a hate crime, and both Jewish, knowing the owner of the living room is black,” Chatinover said.

An anonymous source is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

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