upper waypoint

Fire Burns Home of SF Dog Walker Targeted by Racist Threats

Save ArticleSave Article
Failed to save article

Please try again

San Francisco fire crews rescued two adults from the upper floors of a home that burned on the 900 block of Grove Street on May 21, 2024. (San Francisco Fire Department)

A fire Tuesday morning gutted the home of a San Francisco dog walker who has faced racist threats over the past few weeks, according to fire officials and Supervisor Dean Preston.

Crews rescued two people from the upper floors of the Alamo Square home and took them to local hospitals, according to the San Francisco Fire Department. They were the 82- and 79-year-old parents of Terry Williams, Mission Local reported.

The fire erupted around 11:30 a.m. on the two upper stories of the three-story home, located on Grove Street between Fillmore and Steiner streets, SFFD said.

“Today, a horrific fire burned the Williams family home on Grove Street. This comes after weeks of racial terror and threats directed at this family,” Preston, who represents District 5, was on the scene following the fire, told KQED. “The cause of the fire is under investigation.”

On two separate occasions over the past month, Williams has received packages at his front door containing racist slurs, death threats and a doll painted in blackface, according to previous KQED reporting.


“They said they’re going to exterminate me, eradicate me, that I don’t belong in this neighborhood,” Williams, 49, had told KQED. The essence of the message, he said, was, “It’s not a Black neighborhood no more — get out of here, you don’t belong here.”

San Francisco police were investigating both incidents as potential hate crimes, but no arrests have been made.

Williams was not available for comment on Tuesday afternoon, but neighbors have set up a GoFundMe campaign to support the family.

The fire is now contained, but it displaced seven adults and three dogs, according to SFFD. Preston said his office is working with the mayor’s office to find temporary housing and ensure continued support for the family.

lower waypoint
next waypoint