After receiving a racist note stating he was unfit to be a firefighter because of his race, Kenneth Walker watched Wednesday as his New York house burned to the ground.
His wife, 4-year-old stepdaughter, and 6-month-old daughter were not home during the fire, according to WGRZ.
Walker, 28, the only African-American in the North Tonawanda Fire Department, said he and his family lost everything in the blaze, including two cats.
“It’s sad that someone is so offended by the presence that they feel the need to burn my house down, if that’s what occurred,” Walker solemnly stated in front of reporters. Walker’s wife told the group that she was “overwhelmed” and in disbelief.
Authorities remain mum on whether they believe the fire is the result of a hate crime, but told WGRZ they are committed to finding out what prompted someone to manufacture such a hateful, destructive act.
Walker’s life changed on Monday when he found the following note in his mailbox:
“N—— are not allowed to be firefighters. No one wants you in this city. You have until the end of the week to resign your position or you will regret it N—–.”
The FBI is now investigating the origins of the letter. Walker told WGRZ that he never felt singled out or hassled by his co-workers or community, but is concerned for his family’s safety.
Several members of the North Tonawanda community rallied together to organize a food and clothing drive for the Walkers on Sunday morning. The Red Cross in Buffalo will provide accommodations to the Walkers and any families affected in their four-unit building.
Others expressed their disgust over the note, including Walker’s boss, Robert Brennan. “He is a well-loved member and I was physically sickened by the letter,” he said.
Walker told WGRZ that he would not be “intimidated,” and will remain vigilant as an active member of his community on Monday after receiving the hateful note, but it’s unclear if and when he will return to duty.
SOURCE: WGRZ | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty, Twitter