Susan B. Anthony Museum organizer: Surveillance video from fire raises concern over cause

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)—An investigation into a fire that tore through the back porch of the historical Susan B. Anthony house is underway.

Officials from the museum don’t want to believe that anyone would intentionally set fire, to what they call a national treasure. Deborah Hughes, the president of the organization tells News10NBC that, this time of year she wouldn’t be surprised if the house was targeted.

Hughes says during a political season, is the time they get the most threats and harassing messages. With November right around the corner, this time of year for them is always stressful.

"There are a few political action groups that use Susan B Anthony’s name and their politics don’t align with ours so we get people who are angry and think that that’s us.”

The fire at the museum is under investigation. The Rochester Fire Department has not officially deemed it suspicious, but Hughes says seeing what looked like a person on the surveillance cameras at the time of the fire, creates a different narrative for her.

"It’s always possible that especially in this time period, that women’s issues are still critically important and there are some people who carry a lot of anger and resistance to human rights.”

And she’s not the only one. Sarah Timmerman, the chapter president of Rochester Now, which is a national organization for women says something like this can’t be ignored.

"We hope that this isn’t the start of something bigger, happening towards women.”

Timmerman says, if this was an attack it wouldn’t be the first time for Rochester. Back in July of 2020, the Frederick Douglas statue at the Maplewood Rose Garden was torn off its pedestal. Another Douglass statue on Main Street in Aqueduct Park was toppled earlier in September.

"It’s just about the only national historical site dedicated to women in America so it’s very unique in its own way but also that home hosted such incredible people like Frederick Douglas,” Timmerman added.