PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The Arizona Democratic Party headquarters in Phoenix burned early Friday, July 24, and authorities said it is being investigated as arson.
The fire broke out around 1 a.m. at the building near Central Avenue and Thomas Road.
The Phoenix Fire Department said they found heavy smoke coming from the structure and firefighters quickly entered the building to look for anyone who might be inside.
Nobody was hurt, but the blaze destroyed the part of the building housing the Maricopa County Democratic offices, including computers, tablets, phone-banking equipment, campaign literature and years of candidate and organizing information, county Chair Steven Slugocki said.
It also destroyed political memorabilia accumulated over decades, including campaign materials for John F. Kennedy, he said.
“The Democratic Party in Arizona is pretty small. We’re a small group family,” Slugocki said. “Everything has come out of that building. Elected officials. All meetings. Everything goes through that office. At some point, every Democrat has been through that building. It’s gone.”
Slugocki and state Democratic Chair Felecia Rotellini declined to speculate on whether the blaze could be caused by arson. Both said employees have been mostly working remotely since March.
“We want to know why this happened, and it is something that is simply going to empower us to work harder and keep our eyes on the prize,” Rotellini said. “We’re definitely not going to let this be a distraction from working as hard as we can to turn Arizona blue in November.”