Rockford homeowner suspects arson after camper, house fire

Local News

ROCKFORD Ill. (WTVO) – A motorhome and a house were damaged in an overnight fire.

Rockford firefighters pulled up to see smoke and flames engulf the Collin’s street home just before 1 a.m.

The camper caught fire early Thursday morning on Rachael Smith’s property, with the fire also damaging the inside of her home.

“I feel a little lost, a little in shock still I guess,” Smith said. “I noticed a light in the living room where we were redoing it, there was no light fixture in there, so I looked over and was like, ‘oh man I think the camper is on fire outside.’ So I run, grab my phone and running to the kids, and I said ‘get up guys get up!’

The single mother said her first worry was her two children, both terrified when they were woken up in the middle of the night.

“I was thinking that there probably was a fire, like in our house or something,” said Aubrey, Smith’s daughter.

Although investigators have not yet said what caused the fire, Smith believes it was set on purpose.

“We come running out the back, and that was when we heard a boom and something goes flying across the lawn, and I’m not sure, there was no electricity hooked up to the camper,” Smith said. “I think it might have been set.”

For now, the family is getting help from Red Cross.

“In this case, we work closely with the Rockford Fire Department,” said Brian Nestler, the Regional Response Manager for the American Red Cross. “They actually contacted us directly to let us know there has been families affected by a fire, and then what happens is we actually dispatch some folks, mostly volunteers, to assist with the family.”

Smith had no insurance on the home, and now she has to start over again.

“Right now, we are going to go check in for a couple of days, until we figure out what’s going on from there,” Smith said.

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