A Black volunteer firefighter and his family are now homeless due to a suspicious fire after a threatening racist letter was received. Kenneth Walker, 25, and his family live in the town of North Tonawanda, New York. He has been a firefighter for two years with no problems with his work. On Monday of this week, he received an anonymous letter that read:
“N-words, 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….”
Two days later, while the Walker family — Walker’s wife Amanda and daughters Chloe, 4, and Harmoni, 6 months — were not at home, there was a fire at their home. The family lost all of their possessions. Their two cats died in the fire.
The family is devastated and Kenneth Walker told media he was at a loss as to who would do this to his family. He stated he has never had any issues with co-workers or the public in two years as a firefighter. Walker said the letter made him fear for the safety of his wife and two young children. Amanda Walker, said she believes that the fire was retaliation for her husband not resigning from the Gratwick Hose volunteer fire department,
North Tonawanda Fire Chief Joseph Sikora said he was sickened and appalled by the racist message, stating “He’s a good guy, a good worker. This is something I never thought I would have to deal with as a fire chief and it really has got me upset. I couldn’t apologize enough. We’ll help him any way we can…The fire is under investigation. That’s all I can say. We called in the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control for a couple more investigators to make sure we cover everything,”
The community has reached out to the Walker family to help them during the crisis. In addition, the FBI is reviewing the letter. Walker has stated that he will not resign from his position.