Evanston fire officials say arcing equipment in a 12th floor electrical closet caused smoke that led to the evacuation of the Rotary International building downtown Friday night.

Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says firefighters were alerted to the problem by 911 calls and the building’s alarm system shortly after 6 p.m.

When they arrived at the scene at 1560 Sherman Ave. they found that smoke from the arcing equipment had spread to other upper floors of the building.

Fire crews helped evacuate the building and units from neighboring communities provided backup assistance.

Janetske says that within four hours the building was turned back over to the property managers.

Com Ed crews worked to repair the damaged electrical equipment and Janetske says the utility reports the equipment failure at the Rotary building may have triggered isolated power outages elsewhere downtown last night.

All power reportedly had been restored downtown by midnight.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation

1 Comment

  1. Towering Inferno
    “Fire crews helped evacuate the building and units from neighboring communities provided backup assistance.

    Janetske says that within four hours the building was turned back over to the property managers

    This is good news. Nobody got hurt, the situation was over in a few hours, and the Evanston Fire Department has shown that it is capable of dealing with fires on high floors.

    Of course, the new Tower at 708 Church will have more advanced sprinkler and alarm systems and newer wiring, so it is unlikely that a fire would even spread over several floors.

Leave a comment
The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published.