San Francisco Fire Department, Black dog walker

San Francisco Family Home Set On Fire After Receiving Racist Packages

After receiving two racist packages within the last month, the San Francisco home of Terry Williams was set on fire.

An investigation is underway after the home of a San Francisco Black man, who was recently peppered with racist taunts, was set on fire.

According to The San Francisco Standard, the parents of Terry Williams, who are 79 and 81 years old, were rescued after Williams’ residence was allegedly set on fire on the morning of May 21. The couple was sent to the hospital after firefighters arrived on the scene. San Francisco Fire Capt. Jonathan Baxter said officials responded to the residence just after 11:30 a.m.

The parents were “essentially trapped upstairs,” according to the firefighters. One tried to escape the flames but was “overcome by the heat and smoke” and had to be helped out of the fire. Both are expected to fully recover.

When the fire was set, Williams was talking to the Mayor’s Office about racist incidents that had occurred at his residence when he received a phone call about the fire. The mayor’s chief officer of criminal justice and public safety, James Caldwell, confirmed that Williams received the call in his presence. Caldwell drove Williams to the scene after the notification.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Williams said at the home. “I didn’t even know what happened. I wasn’t here.”

The Standard reported that Williams, a dog walker, received two packages in the last month that included a blackface doll with a noose around its neck with racist slurs written on it. The first one appeared at his front door on April 26; the next arrived on May 5. Police started an investigation to find out who was involved, but no suspect has been identified yet.

“Any investigation—even if there weren’t the issues that are attached to this house—takes [time],” Baxter said. “We’re aware of the items that are attached to the address, but we address every fire the same: with tenacity to find the origin and the cause of the fire.”

A GoFundMe campaign was started after the racist packages were delivered to help the family install security cameras on their property. The goal of $100,000 was surpassed, with more than 1,500 people donated.

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