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Thelma Orr COP House in Racine destroyed by fire during unrest; police seek leads

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RACINE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A standing tribute to a civil rights leader in Racine was destroyed in a fire. 

"We lost more than a building. It was a desecration to Thelma Orr's memory," said Racine Police Chief Art Howell. 

Thelma Orr community-oriented policing (COP) House -- located at 1146 Villa Street  -- dedicated to Thelma Orr, a community activist who devoted her life to helping others. 

Her granddaughter says peaceful protests happening around the nation embody Orr's message. 

"Thelma Orr did not promote violence. She was a disciple of Martin Luther King, Jr. She worked side-by-side with the police officers. She worked with the community to promote peace and not acts of violence," said Julia Jones, Thelma Orr's granddaughter. 

So far, no arrests have been made in the fire. 

Police Chief Art Howell said he does not believe the fire was set by someone from Racine. 

"Thelma Orr, for those of you outside the Racine community, would be equivalent to our Rosa Parks," Chief Howell said. "Anyone who is from this community would not do that to the Thelma Orr COP House."

  

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