By Adam Smith
A recent fire at an LGBT youth center that was originally thought to be an accident is now being investigated as arson after video evidence caught a man setting it ablaze, according to the Phoenix Fire Department.
Police first believed that the building caught on fire due to “”spontaneous combustion,” but a camera captured a man pouring liquid on the floor of the center and stepping outside right before it went up in flames.
According to ABC 7, investigators are asking for the public’s help in finding the suspect, 26-year-old Darren William Beach Jr., who they believe to have been a former client of the center until he aged out of eligibility last year.
No one was injured in the incident, but the center lost a lot of electronic equipment, personal products and food in the flames.
Executive Director Linda Elliott says she was shocked to learn that arson was the cause of the fire, but says she’s received an outpouring of support from people trying to help replenish the center’s losses.
“It’s just been an incredible response from the community,” she told AZcentral. “From the next day until today, people have just been streaming in here, making donations, bringing supplies, buying things.”
The group had already made plans for a new youth center before the building went up in flames, and they hope to be in the new space by early September.