It's a problem plaguing Rockford, vacant home fires. The city is working to tear the abandoned homes down before they catch fire, but many of them are still going up in flames.
"We're looking at a pretty typical year for the City of Rockford for fires," said Rockford Fire Department Arson Investigator Michael Schnaper. By this time in 2017, Rockford had 22 vacant house fires. Schnaper says this year is on pace to match that number. "By and large a lot of the fires we see set may follow similar patters," says Schnaper. "They follow a similar population like squatters and such." According to the most recent data from the Rockford Fire Department, there has been an overall increase in structure fires. There were 97 last May. This May there were 124. Some of those happened at vacant homes.