The owner of the Iliad bookstore in North Hollywood says he thought anti-Semitism was behind the fiery attack, but now he’s not so sure.
Whatever the cause, people have generously offered to help.
For 35 years, Iliad Books has served all of Southern California’s bibliographies.
Among them, Christa Escarzaga, her daughter Holland and husband Mike are Orange County fans who run regularly.
“People who really like books? “They’re going to give,” Krista said.
And they’ve done it far beyond owner Dan Weinstein’s expectations.
His Go Fund Me page, with an initial goal of five thousand dollars, has already collected more than 33,000.
Writers and celebrities like comedian Patton Oswalt have led the charge on social media.
“I can’t tell you how warm my heart is from all the outpouring,” said Dan Weinstein, owner of Iliad Bookstore.
Last Thursday night around 11.30pm, a neighbor called Dan at home. “Your store is on fire,” they said.
“The 25 minutes it took to get here were probably the longest 25 minutes of my life,” Weinstein said.
Fortunately, the flames did not penetrate the front door and the two cats inside, Apollo and Zeus, were unharmed.
Photos were then found in a pile of burnt books.
For years, Dan has kept boxes of them, outside the door, free for the taking. They always sided, but not that night.
The arsonist took the books and piled them in front of the door, setting fire to the mini-inferno that ensued.
LA City Fire confirmed that “no arson investigation has been launched.” Currently, the fire that could destroy Dan’s life’s work is called a “garbage fire.”
A frustrating statement for Dan that the Los Angeles Police Department was also unable to investigate.
He even showed them the strange fliers full of noise and conspiracy theories that had been installed near the entrance that night. “I tried to file a report and didn’t get very far,” Weinstein said.
However, what he doesn’t get from law enforcement he definitely gets from longtime Iliad fans.
Some bought additional books, others donated online, and all were relieved that the milestone still stands.
Dan says he will use some of those generous donations to beef up security here. An even stronger door and surveillance cameras, just to boot.
And the books he left outside would now be locked inside every night.