ROCKFORD — Another vacant house caught fire late Tuesday night in Rockford, the second such fire in three days, according to Rockford Fire Department.
Firefighters were called at 11:35 p.m. to the house at 2830 Eighth St. and found fire coming from the north side of the building when they arrived four minutes later. They had the fire under control in 11 minutes.
The fire began amid “suspicious circumstances,” Division Chief Matthew Knott said today because there was no electric or gas service to the house.
“This one was more likely (caused by) homeless (people) and not an arson,” Knott said.
The acrid scent of smoke and charred building material hung heavy in the air around the one-story, cream-colored home today. Clothing hangers, chairs, what looked like the remnants of a mattress and other personal items could be seen inside the burned-out building. A long-nose lighter sat on the ground outside the detached garage, just steps from the home’s side door.
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So far this year, there have been 26 vacant building fires in Rockford, Knott said. By Sept. 18 last year, the city had experienced 22 such fires, Knott said. Records weren’t immediately available for vacant building fires through Sept. 27, 2016.
“Statistically we’re on track for what we saw last year,” Knott said.
The cause of the blaze is being investigated, said Fire District Chief Dan Zaccard. There were no injuries reported and damage was estimated at $30,000, Zaccard said.
A firefighter received rib and shoulder injuries on Saturday when he fell through the floor while fighting a fire at a vacant duplex at 1223 15th Ave., which was later deemed a total loss and razed. On Sept. 11, a fire destroyed a vacant house at 419 Kishwaukee St. What remained of the home was demolished the same day.
A fire broke out before 11:45 p.m. on Sept. 10 in a vacant commercial building at 2426 W. State St. and it was ordered demolished after the structure was deemed a total loss. And on Sept. 10, firefighters were called to a vacant home at 821/823 11th St. after a fire broke out and spread between the house and garages that were separated by a breezeway.
Kristen Zambo: 815-987-1339; firstname.lastname@example.org; @KristenZambo