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Man arrested in connection to historic Rockford church fire, two other fires

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — A man is under arrest in connection to three fires set Wednesday night, including a historic church that left firefighters battling the blaze for several hours Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

Edward Jerome Wash, 28, is was taken to the Winnebago County Jail, according to the City of Rockford.

Wash is also charged in connection to an arson at 313 7th St., in Midtown, and a dumpster fire at 125 South Madison Street, in downtown Rockford.

This is a developing story.

A 150-year-old church smokes heavily as fire spreads through the historic building.

The former First Congressional Church and Rockford Masonic Lodge was torn down after the fire because of the weakened structure.

The church sat on the corner of Walnut and Kishwaukee streets for more than 150 years.

While firefighters battled the church fire, Rockford Fire received a 911 call about a fire at a 7th Street building.

Our 13 WREX crew on scene saw Rockford FIre's arson dog Epi on scene, though officials couldn't confirm at the time that the 7th Street fire was arson.

Firefighters respond to what officials now call an arson on 7th St. Wednesday night

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted Rockford Fire and Rockford Police in the investigation, which led to the arrest of Wash. Several Rockford city departments assisted with the investigation as well.

Breane Lyga

Breane Lyga is the content manager at 13 WREX. She joined the team in 2015 as the 5, 6 and 10PM news producer after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She was 13 WREX’s assignment editor from 2017 to 2018.

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