Arson leaves San Francisco Armenian Church badly damaged
YEREVAN, SEPTEMBER 18, ARMENPRESS. The Board of Trustees of the St. Gregory Armenian Apostolic Church of San Francisco announced on Thursday that around 4 a.m. the building adjacent to the church was set ablaze by arsonists, Asbarez reported.
“The building housed Vasbouragan Hall, as well as offices for St. Gregory Armenian Church and various organizations. The San Francisco Fire Department responded immediately, however, the building has suffered a great loss,” said the church board of trustees.
This is the second attack on an Armenian establishment in San Francisco in the past two month: In July, the Krouzian-Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School and the adjacent community center were targeted by vandals. The exterior of the building was spray painted with anti-Armenian, pro-Azerbaijani graffiti. Investigators have classified the vandalism as a hate crime and the suspects in that case remain at large, police said.
“The Church Board of Trustees and community leaders are on site assessing the damage and working closely with San Francisco Fire and Police Departments in their investigation. We will provide more updates to the community as they become available,” added the board.
The Armenian National Committee of America San Francisco Bay Area issued a statement condemning the attack and expressed deep concern over "an emerging pattern of hate crimes " targeting the Armenian-American community.
Firefighters initially responded to the blaze just after 4 a.m. at St. Gregory The Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church at 51 Commonwealth Ave., police said.
Although firefighters were able to eventually extinguish the fire, the building sustained extensive damage, according to San Francisco Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jonathan Baxter. No one was injured as a result of the fire, he said.
Editing by Stepan Kocharyan