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Teen praised for fire rescue effort

Evanston teenager Luke Austen-Smith was honored at Monday’s City Council meeting for his role in helping save lives when lightning struck a house on Forest Avenue this summer.

Luke Austen-Smith with Evanston Interim Fire Chief Greg Klaiber.

Interim Fire Chief Greg Klaiber read a commendation praising Austen-Smith’s quick thinking when he saw a fire that had started from a lightning strike a third floor turret atop the home at 1246 Forest Ave. as he was driving through the neighborhood with a friend, Liza Alexis-Ferguson, on the stormy evening.

Klaiber said the while Alexis-Ferguson called 911, Austen-Smith ran to the house and ran the doorbell, alerting the two people in the home to the fire so they could escape safely.

(Evanston Fire Department photo.)

Klaiber says firefighters, quickly alerted to the blaze, arrived within three minutes and were able to limit the damage to the third floor.

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