A weekend fire near Dubuque is under investigation by the FBI as a hate crime. Authorities say someone painted racial slurs on the outside of a home, broke in and set fire to the kitchen. A woman, her teenage daughter and another teenage girl all made it out safely.

No one has been arrested. Matthew Warthan has lived next door to the African American woman and her daughter for the past five years.

“To know someone has the capability to do that anywhere, let alone in our neighborhood, right next to us, it’s very scary,” Warthan said.

The incident was reported around 6:00 a.m. Saturday on the outskirts of Dubuque near Centralia. Kari Fix, a neighbor of the victim, is hoping authorities find the person or persons responsible.

“It’s sickening, sad and pitiful that people would even feel like that way toward someone simply for their skin color,” Fix said. A $1,000 reward is being offered to anyone with information that leads to an arrest.

“Dubuque is a great town,” Warthan said. “We need the community to come together and find out who these people are that did this.”

By Jillian Petrus, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids