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$5,000 reward offered in connection to Racine arson

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RACINE (WITI) -- Authorities hope $5,000 is enough to buy answers. That's the reward being offered for information about a fire that gutted a Racine apartment complex on January 29th.

One of the people displaced in that fire, Harold Williams, stopped Saturday to point out which window belonged to his old apartment. He says he was celebrated his girlfriend's birthday the night of the fire.

"We was getting ready to eat and I went in there and laid down on the couch for a minute and all of a sudden, we hear some banging on the door and they were yelling 'fire!" he said, "So we went out in the hallway and could see smoke coming in from the ceiling."

Williams and his girlfriend were two of the many people to lose their home that night. The fire forced everyone out of the 20-unit complex. Less than 24 hours later, investigators ruled the fire an arson, confirming Williams' initial suspicions.

"When I stepped out of the building, I knew it was arson by the way it smelled," he said, "It was just something about the smell of the air, that smoke that I knew it was arson."

Officials hope the $5,000 reward will get someone to speak up and lead police to the person who started the fire. Until then, Williams says he will keep adjusting to life in his new home - an apartment just up the street.

In addition to the $5,000 reward, Racine County CrimeStoppers offers $1,000 for tips that solve crimes.

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