In a little-noticed development, an unidentified suspect or suspects used what investigators believe to be an “improvised incendiary device” to start a fire around 1 a.m.

on April 1, 2021, that destroyed the Gaithersburg, Md. home of a lesbian couple and their two young children. The couple, who along with their children were away on vacation at the time of the fire, say they initially chose not to go public about the incident out of fear for their safety in what they and investigators say could have been an attempt to target their family because of their sexual orientation as a hate crime.

Although the fire was reported by local Montgomery County news publications at the time it occurred, none of the publications reported the home was owned and occupied by a married lesbian couple. “We’re generally very private people,” Alyson Kozma, one of the two women, told the Washington Blade. “But I think more importantly, we had some significant security concerns,” Kozma said.