A Fourth of July fire did substantial damage to a home at 604 Barton Ave. in Evanston’s 9th Ward.

Lavey and Smadar Strauss and their six children were away from their two-story, single family home when firefighters arrived at 8:42 p.m. and found the home’s second floor fully engulfed, with flames bursting out of the windows and beginning to melt the siding of the house to the north.

Officials say firefighters fought their way inside the building and were able to knock down the main body of the fire to protect the house next door. The fire was brought under control after about 30 minutes.

One firefighter was transported to Evanston Hospital for heat exhaustion and later released.

Fire officials estimate damage to the home at $350,000. They say there were reports of fireworks being set off in the area shortly before the fire was noticed, but they haven’t yet determined the cause of the blaze.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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