A protester in Ferguson, Missouri accidentally burned down his own house last night after mistaking the building for a convenience store.
According to a report in the Ferguson Post-Gazette, 32-year-old Tyler Jackson threw a Molotov cocktail into a window not realizing he was setting ablaze his own residence. The home, which was empty at the time, subsequently burned to the ground.
“It was dark. I got all turned around. I thought it was a 7-11 or something,” he told the newspaper.
Witnesses describe Jackson shouting expletives after he realized what he had done. He then tried to put out the flames himself with a garden hose, but eventually called 911 and asked the fire department for aid.
“They told me they were too busy with other fires to come help,” he lamented. “I couldn’t believe it. I mean we pay these people’s salaries! What do you mean you’re too busy?
“A black person’s house burns down and suddenly you’re ‘too busy’ to put the fire out? This is what racism in America looks like.”
Ferguson was the site of a controversial shooting on Aug. 9 when Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black teenager, was shot by police officer Darren Wilson.
Protests have raged in the town after a grand jury refused to indict Wilson on Monday. Although the majority of protests have been peaceful, a substantial minority of protesters have attacked law enforcement officers, looted stores and set fire to buildings.
These attacks have been called self-defeating because they usually target stores located in their own community and owned by local businesspeople. The damage has been compounded by the fact that many fires go unattended due to concerns for the firefighter’s safety.
Nevertheless sources say Jackson is considering filing a civil rights lawsuit against the fire department for not responding to the blaze.
“If it weren’t for those racist firefighters I’d still have a home,” he says.