Fire at Howard Johnson Displaces Nearly 50 People

ROCKFORD (WIFR) – Nearly 50 people are homeless tonight, after Rockford’s Howard Johnson Hotel caught fire again this morning.

It’s the second time in just two weeks that firefighters have been called to the building.

“It’s scary right now.”

Judy Littlejohn hoped for a peaceful vacation from her job this week. Now she’ll have to work to find a new home after living at the Howard Johnson for only a month.
“Being displaced, you know, it’s not easy. I just, I want to try and be secure in one place for a while,” said Littlejohn.

The hotel on 11th Street caught fire again. This time when firefighters arrived they found heavy smoke near the first floor pool area.

Many people had no clue there was a fire because smoke alarms never went off.

“Being that it’s the second incident in a few weeks, we don’t want to take any chances.”

That’s why the building is now condemned, leaving 48 people homeless. Jose Velasco says it was frustrating to experience the fire on July 3rd and it’s even harder this time.
“The basic thing going through my mind is where to go, what are we going to do,” said Velasco.

Rockford’s Human Services department hopes to help him figure that out. Workers are calling other hotels in the area for temporary housing. As for Littlejohn, she hopes to find something more permanent soon.

Fire inspector Mark Marinaro says the hotel’s manages were in the process of fixing the smoke alarms after they didn’t sound during the last fire. We reached out to the manager, however he did not want to comment.

There’s no word yet on what triggered this fire. We’re told the first one, which happened a few weeks ago, was caused by a kid playing with a lighter, causing about $300 in damages. This one caused $25,000 in losses.

ROCKFORD, Ill. (AP/WIFR) -- Rockford fire officials say nearly 50 people, including some children, were displaced after a fire at a Howard Johnson hotel.

Tuesday morning's blaze is under investigation and so far the cause of the fire hasn't been determined. But authorities say the fire likely began near the hotel's pool.

Heavy smoke caused about $25,000 in damage to the motel.

But officials say no one was injured.

Authorities are working to help people find a temporary place to stay.

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