Police investigate Wayne County home explosion as possible hate crime

Graffiti found sprayed on cars, swastika on a garage.
Updated: Aug. 7, 2019 at 3:07 PM EDT
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WAYNE COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - Cellphone video taken moments after the explosion in Sterling show that almost immediately, the home of Brad and Angela Frase was going to be a complete loss.

It’s a fact that Angela recognized immediately.

“We got here and this is what we saw, but it was in flames, you know? It was done, there was nothing that could be saved” she told 19 News.

The Frases, an interracial couple who lived there for 23 years, saw something else: A misshapen swastika on a garage and blue spray-painted racial slurs on two of the neighbor’s cars.

“I got sick twice. That is what happened. It was like this didn’t just happen. I don’t understand it,” said Angela.

That is what investigators are working to understand.

The electricity to the home was shut off and the gas had been disconnected at the meter. On Wednesday, it was shut off at the street.

The Ohio Fire Marshall, ATF, the FBI and sheriff’s office detectives are working the case. It is one with extra urgency given the possibility that a hate crime could be involved.

“Because of the spray paint on the garage, there were some racial slurs and a swastika that was spray painted on that. We are not gonna tolerate that kind of activity and behavior here,” Sheriff Travis Hutchison told 19 News.

Clearly, if race is involved, it just adds to the pain of losing everything for the Frases.

They were questioned by investigators, but stress there had never been any problems in the past.

If it is found to be a hate crime, they say they will not rebuild and move on.

“It just makes you wonder why, cause I don’t know what to do I don’t have. Where do we begin again?,” asked a bewildered Angela Frase, summing up the family’s situation.

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