The owner of North Hollywood’s Iliad bookstore says he first thought anti-Semitism might be behind this fiery attack, but now he’s not so sure.
Whatever the reason, people have generously reached out to help.
For 35 years, Iliad Books has served bibliophiles throughout Southern California.
Among them are Christa Escarzaga, her daughter Holland and husband Mike Orange County fans who ride regularly.
“People who really like books? They will give it,” said Christa.
And they’ve done it well beyond owner Dan Weinstein’s expectations.
His Go Fund Me page, with an initial goal of $5,000, has already raised more than 33,000.
Writers and celebrities including comedian Patton Oswalt have spearheaded the charges on social media.
“I can’t tell you how warm my heart is from all this outpouring,” said Dan Weinstein, owner of the Iliad bookstore.
Last Thursday night around 11:30pm, a neighbor called Dan’s home. “Your shop is on fire,” they said.
“The 25 minutes it took me to get here was probably the longest 25 minutes of my life,” Weinstein said.
Luckily, the flames didn’t shoot through the front door and two cats inside, Apollo and Zeus, were unharmed.
Photos of the aftermath showed a pile of burned books.
For years, Dan has left boxes of these right outside his door to take with him. They were always by the side, but not that night.
The arsonist took books and stacked them in front of the door to create kindling for the mini-inferno that followed.
LA City Fire confirmed “no arson investigation has been opened.” At the moment, the fire that could have destroyed Dan’s life’s work is being dubbed a “garbage fire.”
A frustrating statement for Dan, who also failed to get the Los Angeles Police Department to investigate.
He even showed them strange leaflets full of tirades and conspiracy theories that were posted near the entrance that night. “I tried to file a complaint but didn’t get very far,” Weinstein said.
But what he doesn’t get from law enforcement, he definitely gets from longtime Iliad fans.
Some bought additional books while others donated online, and all were relieved that this heritage-listed store is still standing.
Dan says he will use some of those generous donations to increase security here. An even stronger door and security cameras just to start.
And the books he used to leave outside are now locked inside every night.