Gay Nokomis couple say they are victims of hate crime after their home was set on fire

Investigators consider it arson

NOKOMIS, Fla. - Two women say their home was set on fire because they are gay.  The State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating the case as an arson.

"I woke up to my girlfriend screaming, 'Fire!'," recalled Allie Langley.

Langley and her partner of two years, Carrie Wojtczak are wearing clothes they bought at a thrift shop after their home was set on fire shortly before dawn Saturday morning. Officials suspect the fire was intentionally set.

"It's really hard to even still think about it.  Because if I hadn't of gotten up, we might not be here," said Wojtczak, fighting back tears.

The couple say they were not fully welcomed in their Nokomis neighborhood and were targeted because they're gay.

"I think that they didn't like that Carrie and I are a couple; and that we were getting ready to register as domestic partners in the city of Venice," said Langley.

The State Fire Marshal's Office would only say the fire is being investigated as an arson.  
The two women believe they are victims of a hate crime.

"It just makes me sad to think that people will still want to hurt people because of the way they want to live their life," explained Wojtczak.

And some of their neighbors agree.  Shirley Hart lives just a short distance from the burned out mobile home.

"I don't think hate is right in any form, really.  To actually try to destroy somebody just because they hate something," said Hart.

Langley said she continues to experience a wide range of emotions; and concern for others.

"It makes me angry.  It makes me sad. It makes me disappointed.  It makes me have fear for other people that are living in that situation," she said.
 

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