Sprinkler heads hold Evanston high rise fire at bay

By Bob Seidenberg

Three sprinkler heads kept a fire in check March 7 until crews arrived at the Park Evanston high rise in downtown Evanston, allowing them to quickly put the fire out, an Evanston Fire Department spokesperson said March 7..
Evanston Fire Dept. Deputy Chief Paul Polep said the department received a call about 7:15 pm from an occupant of the building, 1630 Chicago Ave., reporting her unit on the 11th floor of the multi-family high rise building was on fire.

When Engine 21 arrived on the scene, he said, they heard audible alarms and saw residents evacuating the premises of the building, which sits just south of Whole Foods Market. As Evanston fire crews made their way to the eleventh floor, they encountered a smoke-filled hallway, Deputy Chief Polep said in his report.

Crews then identified the apartment where the fire was located, he said. After entering the room, the firefighters noted that multiple sprinkler heads were activated, keeping the fire in check, allowing crews to extinguish the rest of the fire, he said.

Evanston Fire Department officials credit sprinklers for keeping in check a fire in an 11th floor unit at the Park Evanston on Saturday night.

The affected apartment sustained signficant smoke and water damage, but due to the sprinkler system and the quick response of the Evanston Fire Department and other agencies, there was very minimal damage any other part of the building, Deputy Chief Polep reported. There were several other units that encountered water damage causing some displacement of residents, he said.

During the incident, the Evanston Fire Department activated the MABAS (Mutual Box Alarm System), bringing in several communities to assist with the fire, he said.. There were no reported civilian or firefighter injuries, and the cause of the fire still remains under investigation with no foul play expected, Deputy Chief Polep said.


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