Large billows of smoke filled the streets of the third ward in downtown Rockford Friday night, leaving members of the community in shock. QMI a local family owned business began to smoke late at night, and thanks to the help of Kelly Petit, who was at work nearby, they were able to evacuate people from buildings nearby, including the owner of QMI.
"I went up and knocked on his door and told him that his building was on fire," Petit said.
Petit said he knew the owner and knew he lived nearby so he ran over to his house to wake him up. Petit says they then began to move out as much equipment from inside the QMI building in order to save it.
"We came over to the one side, and got the vehicles out, we went over to the back, opened the door, and got the stuff out of the back," Petit said.
However, all of their efforts were not able to save the building itself. The owner of QMI Brent Flaming says he is extremely thankful that no one was injured during the fire. Third Ward Alderman, Chad Tuneberg says it's so hard to lose a unique family business in the downtown Rockford area.
"They are very well respected and it just shows by the number of contracts that they have with the city and how many businesses rely on their service," Tuneberg said.
Tuneberg says he considers it a significant loss, and member of the River District Association say they hope to see QMI back on its feet at soon as possible. Although Friday night's fire is taking a tragic toll on the Flaming family, community members say they have such high hopes for them, and are confident that their business will come back again, and continue to thrive.
13 News will continue to keep in contact with the Flaming family to see how they plan to recover and rebuild their family business here in Rockford.