The Shasta County Sheriff's Office said on Wednesday that the propane leak incident from Tuesday night in the Keswick area was not an accident. In fact, they said it was a malicious hate crime against a gay couple.
CAL FIRE responded to the incident off of Bush Street around 11 p.m. on Tuesday and found a 500 gallon tank of propane leaking. At first, CAL FIRE said they thought the propane leak was an accident. However, upon further investigation, they found that the propane tank was intentionally damaged.
"It went from the panic and worry of an accident to immediate fear,” said one of the victims.
The couple decided to talk about the hate crime, but they were too shaken up by the attack to use their names.
39 homes were evacuated due to their propane tank leak and after the scene was cleared, the couple discovered that their car had also been vandalized.
"I don't understand why you would do that to somebody," said one of the victims. "It does bring fear. I don't want someone to come back and do it again."
The couple found their car completely destroyed. The back window was broken, the side of the car was keyed, all four tires were slashed and an obscene word was written on the front of their car's hood.
"Hate crimes are still happening," said one of them.
The couple said there is nothing they can do but hope that ignorance is something that diminishes and that people realize that it's a serious issue.
"We need to take a stand and show our children that injustices in the world are not OK, that you should always stand up for what you believe in," one of the victims said.
The Shasta County Sheriff’s Office said the investigation is ongoing. If anyone has any information about the crime, they are asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office.