Owner of Rockford restaurant beaten before business set ablaze

15th & Chris is seen on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023, in Rockford, after a Sunday night fire caused about $100,000 damage to the business.

The owner of a popular Rockford burger stand and food truck is in the hospital, his lawyer said, suffering from burns he received Sunday night when his business was set on fire.

According to attorney Elder Granger II, James Purifoy, owner of 15th and Chris, was attacked Sunday night at his business, 201 15th Ave., by three men.

The men beat Purifoy, knocking him unconscious, and lit the building on fire with Purifoy inside, Granger said. Purifoy managed to get out of the building, into his vehicle, and drive away, but he suffered third degree burns on 25% of his body. He drove until he passed out on Sandy Hollow Road.

Purifoy was attacked by men who had been threatening the Rockford business owner in recent weeks, sending Purifoy messages demanding money along with photos of his business, home and family, Granger said.

More:Fire at popular Rockford burger joint causes $100K damage

James Purifoy, owner of 15th & Chris, heats up the grill Friday, March 13, 2015, at his restaurant, 201 15th Ave., Rockford.

Granger said the threats are allegedly from cartel members who believe Purifoy stole money from them.

Rockford police have not released any information about the attack.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Damage is estimated at $100,000.

Granger has established a gofundme account for Purifoy, explaining how the Rockford entrepreneur is in the hospital and his family has had to leave their home because of the threats against their lives.

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