Residents react to massive fire at abandoned factory in Rockford

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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — A massive fire broke out Saturday morning inside an old abandoned building on North Main Street in Rockford. It took crews hours to put the massive blaze out.

We spoke with residents who could see the smoke from miles away.

“It’s sad to see a part of the city’s history be destroyed,” said Rockford resident Gina Koch.

Massive flames and smoke were pouring out of the abandoned Atwood building.

“We had several collapses and small explosions throughout the incident,” said Rockford Fire Chief Derek Bergsten. “[It was] upgraded to a second alarm due to the size and structure. Shortly thereafter we went to a third and fourth alarm. Ended up with approximately nine engines, five ladders [and] over 50 firefighters responded to the scene to get it under control.”

The sheer size of the buildi9ng enabled residents to see the fire from miles away.

“From East State Street we saw it, we actually thought it was the hospital for a second,” said Ali Lerma.

The Atwood building was an old manufacturing plant and had not been occupied since its relocation in 1997. The building had been on the city’s demolition list for some time.

“I worked for one of the divisions of this company years ago and, you know, now it’s all dying off and it’s just sad to see the history going and it was a big big deal in the area,” said Gina Koch.

Rockford Fire crews are investigating what started the fire. No one was injured.

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