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NYC Rash LGBTQ+ nightclub arsonist John Lhota arrested

Authorities have arrested the fire bug accused of starting a massive fire at a Brooklyn nightclub earlier this month, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday.

John Lhota has been arrested by US Marshals for allegedly dousing the floor of Rash nightclub in Bushwick with petrol before breaking it on March 3.

“We can confirm that @FDNY, @NYPDNews and federal partners apprehended and took custody of the suspect in this arson,” Adams tweeted Thursday afternoon, no further details.

“We made a pledge to our LGBTQ+ community and all communities to protect our city. We will not rest on our laurels to make this a reality,” he said.

It was not immediately clear when Lhota was arrested for the club fire. But he was fingered as a suspected arsonist last Friday – two days after he was arrested by police for allegedly assaulting a woman at his home, according to a warrant affidavit.

Surveillance footage shows the suspect pouring gasoline on the ground.
Surveillance footage shows the suspect pouring gasoline on the ground.
@NYPDTips/Twitter
Footage shows flames beginning to consume the club.
Footage shows flames beginning to consume the club.
@NYPDTips/Twitter

The woman viewed security footage of the arson and identified the suspect as Lhota, court documents said.

The fire at the LGBTQ-friendly bar sent two women – a bartender and a DJ – to the hospital. According to the owner, a bouncer who briefly caught fire also received medical treatment.

Brooklyn nightclub
Firefighters at the scene of the Rash nightclub in Bushwick on April 3, 2022.
citizen app
Brooklyn Club
The fire caused people to panic, ran to the exits and damaged the club.
citizen app

Before the fire, Lhota was caught by surveillance cameras leaving his apartment building, just half a mile from the building, according to court documents.

He was also seen buying a red can, which he filled with gasoline before allegedly “systematically pouring gasoline all over the floor of Rash,” wrote Craig Gundersen, an FDNY fire marshal, in the warrant’s affidavit.

Despite the severe damage from the fire, one of Rash’s owners, Jack Sillen, told The Post the club will reopen “no matter how long it takes”.

John Lhota
A woman identified John Lhota as the suspect who started the fire.
rash_nyc/Instagram
Brooklyn nightclub
The owners plan to reopen the club no matter how long the repairs take.
rash_nyc/Instagram

“Very little [Rash] will be salvageable, we have to start again,” said Sillen after the fire.

“We’ve spent the last year putting all our time, energy and heart into this place and we’ve been really proud of what it has become. It was just getting going.”

A GoFundMe campaign for the fledgling club had raised a whopping $109,000 for a Staff, Medical & Restoration Fund.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/15/nyc-rash-lgbtq-nightclub-arson-suspect-john-lhota-arrested/ NYC Rash LGBTQ+ nightclub arsonist John Lhota arrested

JACLYN DIAZ

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