Oak Street Building Demolished After Fire
Evanston Fire Chief Greg Klaiber spoke about the recent fire at the 4th Ward Meeting Mar. 16.
The historic building on Oak Street that was the site of a three-alarm blaze Tuesday night has been demolished. Evanston Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said at a 4th Ward meeting Wednesday that the fire department and department of property standards deemed the demolition necessary.
“Unfortunately we couldn’t save the actual fire structure,” Klaiber said. “I made a determination with property standards that this was an unsafe building. We had a chimney freestanding 30 feet that was unsupported. The walls of the north were leaning towards the Margarita Inn and we didn’t want that to damage the building. We didn’t want anyone to get hurt walking in and out.”
According to Klaiber, the fire department arrived on the scene within four minutes. However, once the department arrived at the scene, they realized the blaze was beyond their capabilities.
“We issued a first box alarm, second, and then a third box alarm,” Klaiber said. “What that means is that we have automatic responses from outside communities, such as Wilmette, Skokie, Park Ridge, who come to assist us.”
Klaiber said that there were no injuries Tuesday night because of the department's swift response and ability to maintain the fire. As a result, he said the buildings surrounding 1560 Oakton Street were “virtually untouched."
“These guys did an amazing job last night. It was dramatic and the flames were huge,” said Alderman Donald Wilson (4th Ward). “The people in the neighborhood are all fine and intact. The firemen did a fantastic job of protecting everyone. "
The cause of the fire is still under investigation. According to Klaiber, investigations will proceed in the coming days.