"X" marks the spot and this mark could save a firefighter's life.
"Most of our injuries to firefighters occur in vacant structures, so we are risking a lot on a property that really isn't work it," said Rockford Division Chief Matt Knott.
The "X" alerts firefighters a vacant home has structural issues. Here in Rockford there are more than 100 homes with these marks and with more than 4,000 vacant homes in the community, the list of marks keeps growing. It lets firefighters know if there's a fire on this property-- don't go inside.
"If we have reports that children may be playing in that house or if there is a homeless person that lives in that house, we are going to take a lot of risk to find that person and if they are in there we will make sure they get out safely," said Knott.
The fire department works with the building department to identify local vacant homes that create hazards for first responders. The goal is for these homes to be eventually demolished or fixed.
"By state law we are permitted to do fast track demolition , which doesn't require us to take ownership of the property, but we do have to do a series of postings and notices of our intent to demolish unless they get the property back up to compliance," said Rockford building inspector Thaddeus Mack.
Until then this "X" could save firefighter's lives.