Dozens of people were displaced because of the Jan. 29 fire on Jacato Drive.
At 8:40 p.m., the Racine Fire Department responded to reports of a fire at 2500 Jacato Drive. The blaze destroyed the apartment building, but it could have been so much worse.
It took fire fighters from several communities, including Racine, South Shore and Caledonia, to completely extinguish the blaze that displaced dozens of residents. Investigators quickly determined the cause of the fire was arson, according to a story in The Journal Times.
Given the scope of the fire, this was a dangerous situation for both the residents living in the building - officially or not - and the fire fighters who battled the blaze.
"Occasionally, vacant apartments in this area are randomly occupied by homeless individuals or other undocumented residents," said Racine Police Chief Art Howell. "Had there been the loss of life as a result of this fire, our department would be conducting a homicide investigation."
Crime Stoppers of Racine County also takes this crime seriously. Organization board members recently approved a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for setting the fire.
A press release from the RPD confirms that the Wisconsin Insurance Council is offering $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for the fire.
Anyone with information can call and leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at (262) 636-9330, or by texting RACS plus the message to CRIMES (274637) and referring to Tipsoft I.D. #TIP417 with your text message. Tips can also be submitted through the web: http://racine.crimestoppersweb.com
Racine Police investigators are also taking calls with information at (262) 635- 7756.
Or, people can call the State Fire Marshal’s Office at (800) 362-3005, or on the web at http://wiarsonhotline.org/index.html.