There has been a new development in the case of a volunteer Black firefighter Kenneth Walker and a suspicious fire at his home. On Monday of this week he received an anonymous letter that read:
“[Expletive deleted] 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 — was away, their house was burned. The family lost all of their possessions and their two cats.
Police have made an arrest and the culprit is his next door neighbor. A former firefighter, Matthew Jurado, 39, confessed to police that he set the Walker home on fire because he was mad at losing his job as volunteer firefighter. Jurado was recently released from a nearby township’s fire department because of lack of training and skill. He went on to state he did not write the racist later but he knows who did but will not reveal the name. He insisted that his act of arson was not race related but caused by anger over losing his job.
According to Walker and others, they considered a Jurado a friendly neighbor and colleague. In fact, Walker and Jurado trained together at the fire academy but did not serve at the same posts. Witnesses stated that Jurado was spotted around the home near the time of the fire. Police are also investigating whether Jurado’s girlfriend made the 911 call to report the fire. Jurado is expected to be arraigned on the arson charge in court in North Tonawanda, New York, a suburb of Buffalo, Friday morning.
The community has been overwhelming in its support of the Walker family. A GoFundMe account set up by a fellow firefighter has raised $70K so far for the family.