RACINE, WI – For the second time in six months, someone intentionally set fire to a home at 1315 Grand Avenue early Sunday morning.

On the siding, someone also spraypainted the letters “BLM” and “Remember George Floyd and Ty’rese West.”

A neighbor called the Racine County Joint Dispatch Center at 4:58 a.m. Sunday morning to report the fire. Started on the second floor with an incendiary device, damage from the fire and smoke totaled $60,000, according to a press release by the Racine Fire Department.

“Upon arrival, fire crews found fire exiting the windows of the second floor and applied water from the exterior before gaining entry. They were able to contain the fire damage to the second floor,” the press release reads.

Angered that the family won’t get to purchase the house again, executive director Ed Miller said he’s also shocked that someone used the Black Lives Matter movement.

“This event hurts me on a very personal level, not so much for the destruction of property, but for the intentional and misleading tagging that casts our neighbors in an unfavorable, violent, and destructive light. The existence of people who harbor so much aggression and hate with no justification saddens me deeply,” he said.

Two fires within six months, the same house, and the same buyers — the Racine Revitalization Partnership Inc. planned to close on the sale of the home Monday afternoon. The buyers declined to comment on the incident.

While the nonprofit carried insurance coverage on the home, its financial impact disrupts the organization’s overall mission. The nonprofit revitalizes neighborhoods by rehabilitating commercial and residential properties. Miller said the organization planned to use the proceeds from the 1315 Grand Avenue Home to kick start other projects.

So now the nonprofit moves ahead.

“My personal feelings are anger and indifference but overwhelmingly anger. I intend to channel this anger towards vindicating the accused and finding the accuser. The mindset of the cowardly criminal who did this must be ‘if not for me, then for no one,'” he said.


Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.