The Anchorage Fire Department has concluded [note - see update] that someone deliberately burned down a Gay Pride Float two days before it would appear in the city's 4th of July parade. The fire also destroyed the garage and damaged the house of Ken and Paula Butner, allies who kept the Imperial Court's float in a car tent in front of the garage. Their daughter was awakened around 5:30 a.m. on July 2 by the sound of paint cans exploding outside her window, and she woke the rest of the family. Luckily, no one was injured.
Jesse Griffin, at The Immoral Minority, writes:
Gee I wonder which church this arsonist attends? Well okay to be fair, there is no evidence that this asshole attended the Anchorage Baptist Temple. But you just know that a cheer went up when they learned that this float went up in flames, and that their hate filled rhetoric certainly laid the groundwork for this kind of assault.
Neither the Anchorage Daily News nor the Alaska Dispatch seem to have covered the issue of the damage to this float yet, at least with their own reporters. But if and when they get around to it, there was a probable witness to the arson. Hopefully, the witness can take a look through these pictures for a possible clue:
I'm not saying that any of these people had anything to do with the arson. But one never knows.
Here are links to more photos from the June 2009 pro- and anti-Proposition 64 demonstrations in Anchorage. The probability that one of the images shows the perp is more than marginal:
There will be a fundraiser to help pay for the damages:
A fund was set up to help the Butners repair their home and rebuild their garage, with security cameras and a big enough garage to store the float inside. A fundraising dinner has been announced for August 14 to replace the destroyed float equipment."Insurance will not cover the sound equipment belonging to Daphne Do All LaChores, emcee of Drag Queen Bingo and PrideFest Parade announcer," wrote Phyllis of Identity, Inc.Hence, a fundrai$er to replace the equipment—a spaghetti feed with salad on:
Saturday afternoon, August 14, 2010, from 1:00 to 5:00 pm at Guido's, 549 W. International Road. Tickets $10.00 per person, $5.00 under 10 years old. $5.50 of every adult ticket sold will go to Daph. There will also be a 50/50 split the pot and silent auction to raise funds for the equipment.
Update - 12:10 p.m: According to Linda Kellen Biegel, the Anchorage Fire Department has not made the arson determination. It was insurance company investigators. The AFD is still working on their evidence. Linda will have a report on this today at The Mudflats.
Update - 3:00 p.m. Friday: Here's a link to Linda's article on this at The Mudflats. And there's a new article at Bent Alaska. Both ask for, as does this article, help for the Anchorage Fire Department, from anyone who might be able to shed light on this.
top image - Celtic Diva; other images - PA