Ingersoll Closing

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A Rockford institution closes its doors after more than 100 years of operation. Ingersoll International is discontinuing its U.S. operations, headquartered in Rockford and the company could file for bankruptcy.

The parking lots are vacant, the locks to offices have been changed and hundreds of employees are without a job after Tuesday's announcement.

It was big blow to workers but they say it wasn't exactly a surprise.

Two hours. That's how long laid off Ingersoll employees had to pack up their belongings and drive away from Ingersoll for the last time. This after employees learned that one of Rockford's oldest companies was calling it quits.

"We were all working towards a better goal obviously. I think it was in the backs of our minds that it might happen but we really just didn't think it would," said Collene Chalke, former Ingersoll employee.

Company officials blame a sagging economy, global competition for the closure.

"I'm surprised the government couldn't do more but I guess that's how it is here," said Steve Derango, former Ingersoll employee. "Free enterprise and all that right?"

The company has been in trouble for a few years now, selling off assets and laying off employees to try and help the bottom line. But it wasn't enough to save the jobs of hundreds of employees who had worked at Ingersoll for decades.

"if Ingersoll closes and people leave Rockford that's sad. It's a sad day," Chalke said.

Company officials did not return our phone calls Tuesday but according to a press release, CEO and President George Dorkham told employees the closing was the only option after lenders were not willing to help the company restructure its debt.

Ingersoll will continue operations in Germany.

Ingersoll employed as many as 2,000 people in the early nineties but its unclear how many people were laid off Tuesday, it's likely in the hundreds.