By Bob Seidenberg
The wife of the victim in a fatal fire at 1516 Brummel St., March 10, attempted to get her 87-year-old husband to
leave the burning building but was unable to do so, Evanston Fire Department investigators said in an updated report today.
The man was at home the entire morning while his wife was out doing errands, investigators say.
At the time, the fire broke out, she did see him and attempted to get him to vacate the premises, confirmed Fire Captain Anthony Yee, an investigator in the Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Bureau.
The department, in its initial report, had said the man had returned from shopping with his wife and had gone inside the residence to check the source of smoke coming from the building.
Fire Department officials aren’t releasing the name of the victim whose body was found in the basement of the structure.
Initial calls of the fire came in around noon.
Arriving on the scene, firefighters fought zero visibility, extricating the man from the bottom of the stairs, she said. Firefighters administered life emergency measures once the man was removed from the building, with transport immediately provided to an a local area hospital, Kull said. The man was pronounced dead at the hospital, she said.
Fire under investigation
Fire Department investigators are still determining the cause of the fire, which came in around noon.
Upon arrival of the first responding fire companies, heavy smoke was spotted coming from the basement of the single family residence, Kull said.
The response was quickly upgraded to a Box Alarm, Kull reported, with fire conditions requiring three hose lines and neighboring fire department companies to assist with extinguishing the blaze.
Firefighters launched an aggressive interior attack on the fire to bring it under control, Kull said. She said a well-coordinated search enabled them to quickly extract the victim from building.
Smoke can kill
People caught in such situations “should be aware of the hazards of the smoke,” Kull said.
“It’s not the fire that generally kills you — it’s the smoke because of the superheateds gasses and toxins that are present in smoke,” she said.
The best advice in such situations is, “ if there’s smoke in a building, get out,” she said. “Smoke rises, heat rises, so stay low and get out.”
Once outside of the building, call 911, she said.
Family notifications were made, with condolence care services offered by Evanston Fire Department Chaplain Monte Dillard and the American Red Cross representative, Hank Welch, Kull reported.
The cause of the fire has yet to be determined, she said. The 1500 block of Brummel Street was closed this afternoon to allow for the staging of fire vehicles and reopened once crews were finished with their investigation. Community members were asked to stay clear of the area until later this evening.
Smoke detectors were operational at the time of the fire, Kull said. According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), she said, smoke detectors should be tested at least once a month and batteries should be replaced at least once or twice a year, unless the manufacturer suggests otherwise. If smoke or CO detectors activate, she said,residents need to immediately leave or stay out of the building and call 911 to investigate.
For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, residents may dial 3-1-1 in Evanston.