Fires spiked across Rockford in 2016, which is why firefighters are being proactive in making sure 2017 gets off to a good start.
The department teamed up with the American Red Cross and went door-to-door on the city’s west side to make sure residents are prepared. They inspected and installed smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in homes that didn’t have one that worked. Eyewitness News followed them on Day Street near Henrietta School.
“We specifically focus on those areas every year,” said Division Chief Matthew Knott. “[Those are] hot spot areas and then… focus some of our fire prevention efforts on those areas.”
Knott says this area is prone to fires for a variety of reasons, such as: cooking hazards, space heaters, and arson.
One recent deadly fire happened just around the corner where three children died in a Christmas Eve fire. Knott says it’s fires like that they’re trying to prevent.
“Five members were able to get out, but unfortunately, three were not. So, it’s a very significant incident and we do everything in our power to help prevent that from occurring again.”
The Rockford Fire Dept. provide residents more than 1,000 free smoke detectors every year. As they went through the neighborhoods, they stressed the importance of fire safety, accident prevention, and how lives can be saved if we take the proper precautions.
“I think people take it for granted sometimes,” said American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Jason Walters. “They don’t realize how important it is to have these safety measures in their home. It’s just our hope that we can put our hands on the community and help spread the word for home fire preparedness.”
Firefighters say having working fire and carbon monoxide detectors are just small steps that can go a long way in keeping our community safer.
“The best fire that we ever have is the one that’s prevented,” said Knott.