An 82 year-old man died in a residential fire this morning, Dec. 22, at 2121 Cleveland St., said Tom Janetske, Division Chief of the Evanston Fire Department in a prepared statement. Evanston fire investigators say the cause of the fire was accidental, with the origin of the fire being located in the utility room next to the kitchen. Fire investigators from Evanston and the State Fire Marshal’s Office completed the preliminary investigation and have identified an electrical source as a possible cause, said Mr. Janetske. They will work with the property owner’s insurance company for additional testing.  

The Evanston Fire Department received a 911 report of a fire at 2121 Cleveland Street, just before 9 a.m. The initial report came from a neighbor who heard glass breaking and noticed smoke coming from the one-story ranch style home.  

Fire companies attempted to enter the front of the house to contain the blaze, but were unable to gain access because of clutter blocking the doorway, said Mr. Janetske. Firefighters then made entry through a side door at which time firefighters were met by flames and heavy smoke as they extinguished the blaze. During search operations, the 82 year old male was found deceased about 10 feet from the front door under a pile of debris, said Mr. Janetske.   

Fire and EMS assistance was provided by Skokie and Wilmette Fire Departments to cover the City of Evanston while Evanston fire firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.