According to CBS Los Angeles, over 700 people rallied on Friday evening to show support for the family.
Ron Clinton and his three kids escaped the blaze after someone set a tire on fire near their front door at around 2:15AM on Wednesday. Ron’s wife Malissia, who was away on a business trip, believes the fire was a hate crime.
“Someone set a tire there and they used some accelerant to ignite it,” Clinton told reporters. “All I know is that when I woke up, I woke up to a loud blast.”
He continued: “We don’t know who could have done it, but being that we are the only African American family in that area, it was brought to my front door and it feels like it’s personal.”
Investigators have not ruled out hate being behind the blaze.
“The fire was extinguished and found to be confined to the front entrance, with significant smoke damage to the second and third floor. The cause of the fire is suspicious in nature,” explained the fire department.
The family is happy to have escaped with their lives, even though the fire caused an estimated $200,000 in damage.
“The motive in this is still under investigation. Racial motivation and hate crime are being considered, but we have not ruled out any possibilities,” Manhattan Beach Fire Department Chief Robert Espinosa said.
The Clinton family says even with all they’re going through, they are happy at the support they’ve witnessed from the community.
“I just want to say thank you. Thank you for coming out and showing your love; it means everything to us,” said Ron Clinton.
His wife echoed the sentiment.
“I was shocked twice. I was shocked by the atrocious act I awoke to Wednesday morning when my husband called me. And I’m shocked by the outpouring of emotion,” Malissia Clinton said.