UPDATE August 5, 6:20 p.m. ET:
Matthew Jurado told police he set fire to Walker's home, which he said was not "race related." In a press conference Friday Detective Captain Thomas Krantz revealed Jurado said he was mad over being let go as a volunteer firefighter in another department reported WGRZ. Police said 39-year-old Jurado said he wasn't behind the threatening letter Walker received, but did say it was one of his friends refusing to tell police who it was. WGRZ reported Jurado has been charged with arson in the second degree.
See original story below.
The New York home of black firefighter Kenneth Walker caught on fire Wednesday, just days after he received a threatening racist letter referring to him by the "N-word."
Walker, a 28-year-old volunteer firefighter in North Tonawanda, showed WGRZ the letter he received in his mailbox Monday. The letter threatens Walker, saying "N-words" can't be firefighters, telling him to resign or "[he] will regret it."
According to the New York Daily News, Walker, who's volunteered for two years, is the only black volunteer in the North Tonawanda Fire Department.
On Wednesday, WGRZ reported a fire broke out in Walker's home. Walker said his family wasn't home at the time of the fire but did say they lost everything in the blaze, including two cats.
"Resigning from the fire department would obviously please them, and I don't want to please them," Walker told the Buffalo News. "At the same time I am going to do what I have to do to protect my family. I am still going to live my life."
The FBI is investigating the case, according to WGRZ. Walker first reported receiving the racist letter to his supervisor and North Tonawanda police.
According to the New York Daily News, North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas said: "We're totally disgusted that anyone would continue to do this. Whoever is responsible is certainly doing something that's very distasteful and hateful."
North Tonawanda Fire Chief Joseph Sikora didn't immediately respond to Complex's request for comment.