Rockton family hit by house fire


Photo: Harlem-Roscoe Fire District

A Rockton family lost most of their possessions in a fire Saturday night, April 8, 2023 on Eunice Drive off W. Rockton Road.

GoFundMe page has been set up to help the Riihl family in "rebuilding the house and business, purchasing clothing and other necessities, and finding and maintaining a new, but temporary home."

According to the GoFundMe page, the Rockton family was returning from dinner. "As they came around the corner to their street, they realized emergency crews were in front of their home."

The Rockton Fire Department told WIFR that fire crews quickly extinguished the first fire, which might have started in the kitchen or work room. But then a second fire started in the attic.

Despite all efforts, the roof collapsed about 12:30 a.m., a family friend told us, making rebuilding more challenging.

Several fire departments were summoned as part of mutual aid, including Harlem Roscoe Fire Department's Deputy Chief John Bergeron, Lt. Nate Sarver, firefighter/EMTs Greg Wernick and Madison West.

The Riihl family

The family's two dogs, Lola and Milo, did not survive.  The two youngest boys, ages 10 and 8, lost most of their possessions, including all their clothes.

The father, Joe Riihl, runs Crazy Joe's Wraps from their home, and lost all his business supplies, materials, and equipment. He plans to rebuilt his business, but it will take time.

The mother, Xuan-Hien, is a second-grade teacher in Rockford. Her salary provides the family's only income at this time. Insurance will cover part of the loss, but not instantly.

For updates on the family, or to help them financially, visit the GoFundMe page.

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Photo: Harlem-Roscoe Fire District
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