SAN FRANCISCO (FaceBook, sfgate.com, Asbarez.com)– The building next to St. Gregory the Illuminator Armenian Apostolic Church in San Francisco was set on fire at approximately 4 a.m. on September 17. According to the church’s FaceBook site, it appears to be a case of arson. Though the San Francisco Fire Department immediately responded, the building suffered great damage, with two out of four floors gutted.
The building serves as a community center housing Vasbouragan Hall, an auditorium, as well as offices for the church, the Armenian Revolutionary Federation Kristapor Chapter, Armenian National Committee of America-San Francisco, and local Homenetmen, Armenian Relief Society, Hamazkayin and Armenian Youth Federation Chapters, according to Asbarez.com.
The fire department as well as the San Francisco Police Department are investigating. This attack follows the vandalism at the end of this July of the Krouzian Zekarian Vasbouragan Armenian School and its adjacent community center, the walls of which were covered with profanity, anti-Armenian slogans and the colors of the Azerbaijani flag.
Rostom Aintablian, chairman of the church’s Board of the Trustees, said: “They set three different fires, two on the bottom floor, and one on the middle floor. We do think it’s arson.”
San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin declared in a Twitter post: “There is no room for this cowardly, hateful, criminal act in San Francisco. We stand with the Armenian community against hate.”