One day after the only black volunteer firefighter in North Tonawanda, New York (Niagara County) told reporters he received a racial threat about being a firefighter, his apartment burned. Kenneth Walker said yesterday (Wednesday) he received the note, below, in his mailbox. The fire occurred today. Walker is a member of the Gratwick Hose Company.
Kenneth Walker recently received a piece of paper in his mailbox containing a racist message and a threat.
On Wednesday afternoon, Walker’s Oliver St. home caught fire.
As authorities investigate the message and the fire, U.S. Attorney William Hochul said the threat is being reviewed.
“This Office has been asked by the media about a certain letter received recently by a NT firefighter,” Hochul said. “This Office can’t comment since this matter is being reviewed. The public should know that we take all such incidents extremely seriously.”
North Tonawanda Fire Department Chief Joseph Sikora said at this point, they are working on finishing up an investigation into the fire.
When 2 On Your Side’s Claudine Ewing asked if he thought the cause of the fire looks to be suspicious, Sikora said: “I have no idea.”
The family say they have lost everything.
Amanda Walker, his wife, said she believes that the fire was retaliation for her husband not resigning from the Gratwick Hose volunteer fire department, as the threatening anonymous letter demanded.
“We believe it was retaliation. The letter said if he didn’t resign from the fire company, he’d regret it,” she said.
Walker met Wednesday afternoon with FBI agents, and he also met with agents Tuesday, said his uncle, Robert Sands, of Buffalo.