Fire at The Park Evanston contained to one apartment


Jacob Fulton/The Daily Northwestern

Emergency vehicles outside The Park Evanston, 1630 Chicago Ave. A fire Saturday night displaced residents for almost two hours.

Jacob Fulton, Assistant City Editor

A fire broke out in an apartment at The Park Evanston, 1630 Chicago Ave., on Saturday night, displacing residents for about two hours.

The fire was reported at around 7:15 p.m., and Evanston Fire Department responded with a full high rise response team, calling in support from multiple local fire departments. EFD deputy chief Paul Polep said the fire was contained by the three sprinkler heads within the apartment throughout the room where the fire originated. Despite heavy smoke, the fire was nearly gone by the time EFD arrived. He said the fire was officially extinguished at 7:42 p.m., and there were no injuries to residents, members of EFD or the Evanston Police Department.

Polep said the fire didn’t cause damage to any apartments except the one it started in, and estimated that around four apartments were not habitable on Saturday because of water damage. Residents were allowed back in the building at around 8:50 p.m. to either return to their apartments or collect belongings if they didn’t plan to stay overnight.

Many upperclassmen live in the building, which is located a few minutes from Northwestern’s campus. McCormick junior Michael Waldman was in his apartment when the fire broke out. He said he lives on an upper floor, and he didn’t hear any alarms going off. Instead, he found out about the fire after receiving a message from a friend, who saw the fire trucks on the street.

Waldman then tried to exit the building, taking the stairs down. He said as he got closer to the floor the fire took place on, he began to smell fumes, and at one point was redirected back to his apartment by EFD, before eventually exiting the building. Waldman said the situation was stressful, especially because he was unaware of what was going on and had limited information.

“Most people didn’t know what to do,” he said.

Polep said it is a common practice to keep residents in their apartments for contained fires, as it allows members of EFD to move throughout the building quickly. However, he said floors 10 through 12 were evacuated and most other residents left the building anyway. After the fire was extinguished, EFD had to clear the building and make sure it was safe to re-enter due to the water damage from the sprinklers.

McCormick junior Grant Spaulding lives in the building, but was out of his apartment at the time of the fire. He was driving home when he saw the road was blocked off, and said he was shocked when he found out the fire happened in his building.

“There were seven fire trucks here,” Spaulding said. “It just seems close to home. You realize that you have to be more careful because it affects the whole building.”

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