New light shed on severity of Davis Street fire

Ciara McCarthy, City Editor

The fire that destroyed three Davis Street businesses in December took more than one million gallons of water, multiple fire departments and five hours of continuous work to contain and eliminate.

The fire could have been much worse, Evanston fire department Chief Greg Klaiber explained during City Council on Monday. Klaiber discussed the severity of the fire and the intense work required of firefighters and other city departments to manage it.

The fire started at Pine Yard Restaurant, 1033 Davis St., on Dec. 29 just after 2 a.m. and spread to nearby TechniColour Nail & Day Spa, 1031 Davis St. and Taco Diablo, 1029 Davis St. All three businesses were destroyed and demolition began Monday on the buildings’ charred remains.

Klaiber presented a detailed account of the progress, including footage from the scene. When firefighters first arrived on the scene, they cut an inspection hole in the roof of Pine Yard and discovered flames in the wood truss construction of the building.

“Wood truss construction is our most dangerous type of fire,” Klaiber said.

A fire wall protected Wheel & Sprocket, 1027 Davis St., and the firefighters’ work prevented the fire from spreading to the bike store and many more properties along Davis Street, Klaiber said.

It took all of the fire department’s resources to combat the fire in addition to five outside communities’ assistance, Klaiber said. Klaiber also explained that the weather conditions on the morning of Dec. 29 prevented the fire from spreading east down Davis Street.

“If we had a wind blowing fire, it could have gone all the way to Maple,” he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, although it definitely originated from the kitchen of Pine Yard. Investigators are examining pieces of kitchen equipment in a controlled environment for clues as to the origin of the fire, Klaiber said.

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