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Sudden storm puts boats in danger off Lighthouse Beach

Two boaters rescued by Coast Guard and taken to Wilmette Harbor.

Evanston fire units during a water rescue operation. (File photo)

Evanston fire units responded to the lakefront around Lighthouse Beach about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday when people on several boats were endangered by a swift-moving thunderstorm.

Fire Division Chief Kimberly Kull says eight boats were overturned in the water and along the beach. Two swimmers were found without life vests, clinging to their capsized boats.

Fire Department water rescue personnel, the U.S. Coast guard, Evanston Lifeguards, The Wilmette Sail Club and Evanston city staff were involved in the rescue operation.

The Coast Guard transported the two boaters who’d been in the water to Wilmette Harbor for evaluation. Kull says no injuries were reported during the incident.

The lakefront action happened about the same time that other crews were battling a fire at the Old Neighborhood Grill at 2902 Central St. Fire crews were called in from several nearby towns to assist with the response.

Kull says the fire started in the restaurant kitchen and firefighters were able to extinguish it in about 15 minutes.

The National Weather Service says we can expect thunderstorms to continue through the evening Tuesday and into the overnight hours, and a beach hazard statement is in effect until 10 p.m.

Swimming conditions will be life threatening and waves of three to six feet are expected.

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