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Photo credit: Jeff Burdick


The arsonist who started a fire last year in a Jacato Drive apartment building remains at large, and Racine police investigators still need help from the public identifying the party responsible.

Crime Stoppers of Racine County is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of a suspect or suspects. The Wisconsin Insurance Council is offering $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the fire.

On Jan. 29, 2013, the Racine Fire Department and RPD responded a little before 9 p.m. to 2500 Jacato Drive for an active structure fire. Dozens of residents – some official and some not – were displaced, but no one was injured.

The cause of the fire was quickly determined to be arson, and damage totals were estimated at $450,000, according to a story in The Journal Times.

Racine police Chief Art Howell said at the time the situation was dangerous for both residents and first responders.

“Occasionally, vacant apartments in this area are randomly occupied by homeless individuals or other undocumented residents,” Howell said. “Had there been the loss of life as a result of this fire, our department would be conducting a homicide investigation.”

A few days after the fire, volunteers from We Are Racine accompanied residents back into the building to see if any of their belongings could be spared, Racine Uncovered reported.

“We dug through collapsed ceilings that buried items trying to help find the little things that the people were missing,” the story reads. “Once we dug through the debris we found items frozen and immovable in inches of ice.”

Anyone with information about these crimes can leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at (262)636-9330, via email through the website or by sending a text message to CRIMES (274637) and typing in RACS with your text message.