November 28, 2023

ROCKFORD — A 14-year-old boy was rescued Wednesday by Rockford firefighters from a house fire in the 1200 block of 22nd Avenue.

Firefighters responded about 2:30 p.m. to the residence and found heavy fire showing from the rear of the building.

There were reports from neighbors that some children may be home.

“The front door was open, but the screen door was closed,” Rockford Fire District Chief Dan Zaccard said. “That was kind of unusual for this time of year. That really made us believe there was someone in there.”

The first arriving engine company made an attack on the fire, while other early arriving units were ordered to search the house. While searching the basement, Engine 11’s crew found a 14-year-old male who was unable to escape because of heavy smoke on the first floor.

Zaccard described the youth as a special needs child.

“We think he went and hid in the basement,” he said. “We found him under a sheet.”

An additional crew was sent to the basement with an oxygen tank for the child and escorted him out of the residence to a waiting ambulance.

His injuries are not life threatening. The fire was brought under control in about 17 minutes and damage was estimated at $15,000.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, and there were no other injuries.

Zaccard said smoke alarms inside the home were operating, and no adults were home at the time of the blaze.

“The Department of Children and Family Services was called as a matter of protocol,” Rockford Fire Division Chief Matt Knott said.

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