Fire at 612 Sheridan Road

Evanston fire officials say more than 20 families have been forced from their homes as a result of an apartment building fire at 612 Sheridan Road.

Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says residents called 911 shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday to report smoke in the building.

The first firefighters on the scene found heavy smoke on all three floors at the front of the southerly wing of the three-bay courtyard-style building. In all, the building on the southwest corner of Keeney Street and Sheridan contains at least apartment 42 units.

While they were evacuating people from the building, Janetske said, firefighters spotted flames on the first and second floors, and by the time the fire was fully extinguished around midnight, fire damage was severe to the front units on the second and third floors of the south wing.

While 12 people in six units were initially displaced by the fire, officials decided to shut off utilities to the building for safety, and that left a total of more than 20 families displaced, Janetske said.

The fire went to four alarms as Evanston officials called on surrounding communities to provide additional support in handling the blaze. More than 15 fire units and ambulances responded to the scene.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene. No civilian injuries were reported.

Janetske says the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but that fire investigators had completed their preliminary investigation by about 3 a.m. and had turned the building back over to the property owners for further investigation by their insurance company.

Fire and police officials worked with the American Red Cross to help find temporary housing for those displaced.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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