Posts Tagged Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matt Knott

Rockford Fire Department news

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Finding out what or who is sparking fires in vacant buildings in Rockford is the fire department’s top priority.

Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matt Knott says it’s “clear we have a fire problem” after a fourth vacant building was destroyed in an early morning fire on Thursday. The first fire happened at the old Hanley Furniture building on June 25th, followed by a fire on 7th Street a week later on July 2. On July 4, a third Rockford downtown building caught fire in the 800 block of South Main Street.

Investigators are actively working on finding the cause of a fire in the 600 block of 7th Street, the site of Thursday’s fire. Three of the four walls of the building collapsed.

The fire department says they are treating all the fires as independent events and have confirmed that there was no electricity in either the Hanley Building or the fire on South Main Street. Division Chief Knott says arson remains a possibility with some of the fires, but they are not ruling out other causes.

thanks Dan

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Rockford Fire Department news

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Red X’s have been popping up on vacant homes all over Rockford as part of a new program by the fire department. The Red X program is designed as way to let firefighters know that the building has some structural weaknesses before going inside.

“The roof structure did collapse and narrowly missed some of our firefighters. That’s a situation where a sign like this would have warned our firefighters this building has some structural issues and would help drive our tactics a little bit more,” says Rockford Fire Department Division Chief Matt Knott.

The Red X also defines some of the buildings as being on a demolition list and helps neighbors keep an eye on what’s happening next door.

Emergency responders Firefighters say there haven’t been any fires in the marked buildings since the program started six months ago, which is something that doesn’t surprise Curtis.

Right now, there are more than 80 structures with the ink. The fire department hopes to have over 100 within the next two months.

Rockford currently has more than 4,000 vacant homes, though not all vacant homes qualify in the international fire code to have a red x.

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