Police and firefighter/paramedics from Rockford responded about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 2, 2020 to a report of a fire in a vacant church. Firefighters were faced with large flames showing out the front windows of the church.
Police and firefighters established a large radius perimeter around the church for crowd control as pieces of the building were collapsing and large embers were listed away from the fire scene.
Fire engines and ladder trucks were also a significant distance from the fire scene — positioned outside the “collapse zone.” The church building involved with fire is about 125 feet by 60 feet.
A large amount of smoke was affecting the area. According to the National Weather Service observations at Greater Rockford Airport winds have been from the West about 6 to 10 MPH at 5:54 p.m. and 6:54 p.m. At 4:54 p.m. winds were from the west at 14 MPH and gusting to 21 MPH. The smoke was blowing toward Swedish American Hospital about five blocks east of the fire scene.
The church building is believed to have been built in the mid-1800s. “Rockford Masonic Cathedral — 1869 1918” is engraved in stone, near the main entrance of the building. The church building was also home to the Metro Christian Center in past years.
The fire was at least the third working fire that Rockford firefighters fought today, after fighting two house fires earlier Wednesday.
The information in this article is an early report published before any summary information was confirmed or released by police or fire authorities.
DEVELOPING IF CONTENT IS AVAILABLE …
Firefighters were seen using at least three elevated master streams aimed at the roof of the church from three tower ladder trucks. Another stream from a deck gun was aimed through windows of the church.
Fire this evening at the abandoned church at Kishwaukee & Walnut Streets in downtown Rockford. Photo was taken by Karen Elyea. pic.twitter.com/qgcU8YukC2
— Ken DeCoster (@DeCosterKen) September 3, 2020
BREAKING: Firefighters are responding to a fire at Metro Christian Center in downtown Rockford. Tune into our Facebook Live to watch. pic.twitter.com/nyjTlK3LYD
— 23 WIFR (@23WIFR) September 3, 2020
BREAKING: A church is on fire on the corner of Walnut and Kishwaukee near downtown Rockford. @RockfordFire is on scene.
Working to get more info. pic.twitter.com/TDMQPn8mSE
— James Stratton (@JamesStrattonTV) September 2, 2020
BREAKING: Firefighters respond to massive blaze at a former church in Rockford. https://t.co/lAYD0jfLDM
— 13WREX (@13WREX) September 2, 2020
Rockford fire is battling a church fire at Kishwaukee St. and First Ave. pic.twitter.com/VCQl7xK098
— Chris Green (@ChrisFGreen) September 3, 2020
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