Rockford family survives alleged arson attack

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Fire investigators are investigating four arsons in Rockford over the last ten days.

On Friday, a family was inside their home on Forest Avenue when someone set fire to it.

Just before 3 a.m., Shelly Hughes was lying awake in bed while her husband, Nathan, their son, and 1-year-old grandson, slept.

She heard a loud noise she thought was thunder, and as she sat, listening for raindrops, she saw a slight orange glow and realized the sound wasn’t from a coming storm.

“I heard ‘psst’, like that, and it’s like, ‘Whoa! Wait a minute! Let me get up and move around,'” she remembered. “And I come to the living room, through my hallway to the living room, and as I looked to my left, I saw that there was a fire, right here under my door.”

The front door was engulfed in flames, blocking the main exit from the house.

“Someone did this deliberately,” Hughes said. “That is what I want to say. Seems like it was on purpose. Could be they was just trying to destroy us, get rid of us, you know.”

Fire investigators dubbed the fire that destroyed the Hughes home and their car as arson.

“It’s like different emotions. I feel a lot of anger. I want this person caught and punished to the greatest extent of the law,” she said.

The Hugheses have lived in the house on Forest Avenue for more than 20 years. While they’re thankful they made it out of the burning building, they weren’t able to save much else.

“Right now, because of this situation, well, we’re going to be in dire need of, probably, everything,” she said.

The Red Cross is helping, but the Hugheses set up a GoFundMe to help rebuild their lives.

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