Long Beach Pride Lifeguard Tower destroyed in fire

Long Beach Pride Lifeguard Tower

The Long Beach Pride Lifeguard Tower burned down Tuesday morning, officials said. Photo: Long Beach Fire Department.

LONG BEACH — A rainbow-colored Pride lifeguard station burned down early Tuesday morning in Long Beach, fire department officials said.

Long Beach Fire Department responded to the Pride Lifeguard Tower, on the beach between 12th and 13th places, shortly after midnight, and found it fully engulfed in flames, said Gonzalo Medina, Long Beach fire’s marine safety chief.

A Long Beach police officer who was on patrol in the area saw the fire and made the initial call, said Jack Crabtree, a Long Beach fire spokesman.

The tower was completely destroyed, Medina said it will be replaced and repainted.

“LGBTQ members of the Marine Safety Division painted the tower during Pride month last year,” Medina said in a statement. “The tower served as a symbol of our strong support for the diversity within our ranks and the LGBTQ community who call Long Beach home.

“The Fire Department Marine Safety Division remains committed to the safety and inclusion of our LGBTQ staff and community,” Medina said.

The fire department investigators have not yet released any details on the blaze.

Despite the lack of evidence to support his claim, Mayor Robert Garcia posted on his social media platforms Tuesday morning that “I  personally have little doubt this was an act of hate.”

Numerous residents who live in the area of the lifeguard tower said on social media that people sometimes camp out or take shelter at the lifeguard tower in the evenings. They also noted that it was windy last night.

About the author

Phillip Zonkel

Award-winning journalist Phillip Zonkel spent 17 years at Long Beach's Press-Telegram, where he was the first reporter in the paper's history to have a beat covering the city's vibrant LGBTQ. He also created and ran the popular and innovative LGBTQ news blog, Out in the 562.

He won two awards and received a nomination for his reporting on the local LGBTQ community, including a two-part investigation that exposed anti-gay bullying of local high school students and the school districts' failure to implement state mandated protections for LGBTQ students.

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