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fire michigan

Authorities in Eastpointe are investigating a suspected arson fire in a home Thursday night on the same street where black residents received threatening letters with racial slurs this week, police said.

The home on the 15100 block of Sprenger was marked with signs warning of a fire marshal investigation and offering a $5,000 reward for information about the fire.

Eastpointe Police said this morning that there were no injuries in the fire, but additional information wasn’t immediately available.

A search warrant posted on the front door of the home said authorities are searching for evidence “in relation to a home invasion, arson, or used to write hate mail.”

The warrant specifically mentioned that any fingerprints, evidence that might contain DNA, fire accelerants, handwriting samples, paper or envelopes that might be related to the fire.

The fire appeared to have caused minor damage to the home. No one was at the home this morning.

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The fire came as police investigated letters sent to black families Tuesday on Sprenger Avenue. The letters said the writer or writers were “tired” of blacks moving into the neighborhood, that they need to move “back across 8 Mile” and listed addresses along with a threat to kill blacks “one by one.”

Neighborhood residents said this morning they can’t understand why black families were targeted with the letters, describing the area as diverse and friendly.

Rosie Stokes, 38, bought a home on Sprenger about two months ago, moving there from Detroit. Stokes, who is black, said she did not receive one of the racist letters.

“I’m actually very surprised about it,” she said of the letters. “It’s a very quiet neighborhood. That’s one of the reasons I moved over here. Eastpointe is very diverse.”

Stokes and another neighbor, an African-American man who declined to give his name, said residents of Sprenger are talking about setting up a block club or neighborhood watch to keep an eye out for one another.

The 45-year-old man said he’s loved living on Sprenger for six years and talks regularly with neighbors both black and white.
Video of Local News Coverage

African American Families Threatened In Eastpointe, Michigan