Trends of arson in Rockford - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Trends of arson in Rockford

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ROCKFORD (WREX) -

Recent vacant fires in Rockford have raised some concern across the city.

"we do have an issue with vacant building fires" said Rockford Fire Division Chief, Matt Knott.

These vacant home fires leave behind destruction in Rockford neighborhoods, as well as questions and concerns from homeowners nearby. 

"Its real terrifying because like I said it could have been anybody or anything. A lot of these places are really vacant now so its like, what is Rockford doing" said Rockford homeowner, Connie Gulley.

 Gulley, whose home is nearby where Sunday night's fire on west state street took place, watched from her window as the building erupted in flames.

"Its pretty bad as you can see from the building outside itself. The building was pretty big and there's nothing there now" said Gulley.

Rockford Fire Officials say, there have been twenty-three fires in vacant buildings in 2017 alone. Eleven of those, including the one near Gulley's home, were caused by arson.

"We look at these buildings, in specific vacant. You know this is a serious incident that we have. Each one of those fires is serious in its nature and like I said we work hard to prosecute those who are involved in those fires" said Knott.

However, the investigation, and making arrests takes some time. The Rockford Fire Department still has nine arson investigations that are open.
one, dates back to March.

"Some fires are easier than others to prove. Arson is a relatively easy crime to determine that it was in fact arson but its very difficult for the prosecution side of it" said Knott.

Officials are now reviewing security tape footage from Sunday nights fire on West State  to answer more questions, find who is responsible , and relieve concerns for Rockford neighbors. 

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