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First Look: New Rainbow Lifeguard Tower Erected in Long Beach

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday June 19, 2021
Originally published on June 11, 2021

[Editor's Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that the new tower was built in Long Beach, not Hermosa Beach.]

Pride is back at Long Beach in the form of a new rainbow lifeguard tower after a fire destroyed the original tower last year, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The circumstances of the fire are still under investigation, but residents of the city of Long Beach came together to restore the structure this year in time for Pride.

"Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said the first tower had given him an immediate sense of inclusion," Los Angeles Times reports.

Garcia was quick to denounce the March blaze as an "act of hate," reported the Long Beach Post. "Since then, investigators have determined the fire was arson, but any motive remains under investigation, according to the Long Beach Fire Department."

"A fire was purposefully set and as a result, the tower burned down," LBFD Capt. Jack Crabtree said, but investigators are still trying to determine whether the blaze was lit with the intent of burning down the tower.

Long Beach resident Rich Charley heard on the morning of March 23 that the city's rainbow lifeguard tower had been destroyed in a fire, he decided to see the smoky skeletal remains for himself.

"It hit me personally because I'm a vet that's gay, and of all the places, the gay life[guard] tower gets burned to the ground," he said. "As a gay person, as a queer person, seeing that just makes you feel welcomed and supported."

The new tower was reportedly painted by the city's lifeguards, and and residents recently turned up to see its grand unveiling.

"People waving pride flags cheered as a billowing blue tarp was dragged off the brightly colored tower and a red rescue can was hung on its deck — signaling it was in business," LA Times reports.

One Long Beach resident, Ray Ramirez told the LA Times: "Now we're here, resurrected," he said. "The idea that here on this promenade where people, walk, ride, run, [there's] something so visual to remind people that we exist as part of the community."

Last month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion to paint a Hermosa Beach lifeguard tower in rainbow colors in solidarity, The LA Times noted.

Happy Pride!