Rockford Church School building catches fire, first responders believe arson

Dispatchers say smoke was showing when crews arrived.
Dispatchers say smoke was showing when crews arrived.(MGN)
Published: May. 27, 2023 at 9:32 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A vacant Church School building in Rockford catches fire in a classroom, but first responders are calling it arson.

The Rockford Fire Department got a call around 5:30 p.m. Saturday about smoke coming from a second floor window at the abandoned Church School building located at 1419 Blaisdell Street.

First responders discovered a small fire in a classroom on the second floor and put it out quickly. Nobody was inside of the building at the time and the building itself is reported to have minimal damage.

Rockford Fire says this is the second small fire to have been reported in this building in the last three days. Rockford Fire Chief Kyle Hill says they suspect these fires are intentional. The building has been vacant for many years with only a chain link fence surrounding its perimeter. Hill says the fencing has fallen into disrepair which makes it easy for vandals to enter the building illegally.

Hill says the building has structural damage and poses a risk t the public and first responders, and a demolition will be scheduled for the near future.

“It’s a drain on our resources that we have that our protecting the rest of the city for abandoned buildings. It’s kind of a nuisance fire for us but luckily it wasn’t any bigger than it was, we controlled it quickly and nobody was hurt,” said Hill.