The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 will be commemorated at an open house in Evanston on Sunday, Oct. 12, at Fire Station 1, located at 1332 Emerson St.

Because of that fire, the Evanston Fire & Life Safety Services invites community members to this fire prevention open house, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., that will have a special appeal to children, with games, prizes, and a visit from Ronald McDonald.

It comes in the middle of Fire Prevention Week, Oct. 5 through 11, a date that was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, which killed more than 250 people, left 100,000 homeless, and destroyed more than 17,000 buildings from Oct. 8-10, 1871.

The tragedy inspired reform across the United States, spurring new fire safety codes and public awareness campaigns.

Each October, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sponsors a nationwide campaign and together with the Fire Service highlights the importance of fire and life safety education.

This year’s theme encourages everyone to test their smoke alarms every month, as nearly two-thirds of home fire deaths are a result of homes with no working smoke alarms.

When they don’t work, says the NFPA, it’s usually because batteries are missing, disconnected, or dead.

If you have questions, call the Fire Service at (847) 448-8191.

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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