ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Rockford firefighters were called to a fire at 15th & Chris early Tuesday morning, the second fire at the troubled restaurant this year.
According to the Rockford Fire Department, a collection of debris from the January 22nd fire that was stacked outside the building was on fire when fire crews arrived at the location around 5:30 a.m.
The building itself did not suffer any further damage, and firefighters stayed on the scene about an hour making sure the fire was extinguished.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, officials said.
Investigators determined arson was the cause of the January 22nd, 2023 fire, which happened around 8 p.m.
Firefighters say they were able to keep flames from spreading to the food truck out in front of the restaurant.
Fire officials say nobody was inside the building when they arrived, and no injuries were reported while extinguishing the blaze.
Damages were estimated to be $100,000.
The site of a former ice cream parlor, 15th and Chris was opened by James Purifoy, 48, in 2018. It has won several local awards for its hamburgers. The business expanded to include a mobile food truck.
Purifoy’s attorney, Elder Granger II, claimed that the family had been receiving threats for more than a week leading up to the fire.
Granger said Purifoy was attacked by three men while he worked in his food truck on the night of the fire. He claimed that Purifoy was left unconscious in the truck while the men set fire to the business.
According to Granger, Purifoy woke up and drove away from the scene. A police officer pulled him over and took him to a hospital. He reportedly suffered third-degree burns to 25% of his body.
On April 13th, 2023, Purifoy was accused of leading police on a high-speed pursuit due to driving an uninsured vehicle on a suspended license.
Purifoy was arrested and charged with felony Aggravated Fleeing From Police and cited for driving on a suspended license, operating a vehicle with suspended registration, and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.