Updated: Jan. 4, 2010. Eighteen fire companies and 62 firefighters responded on Christmas morning to an extra alarm fire at 1809 Laurel Ave. that quickly spread to an adjoining home and three garages. The homes are located just north of the Evanston Township High School’s football field.

Evanston emergency operators received a 911 call at 5:07 a.m. when someone reported a fire at 1809 Laurel Ave. On the scene, Evanston firefighters found heavy flames coming from the house and garage. The fire quickly spread to the house at 1807 Laurel and to the garages at 1807 and 1811 Laurel Ave., said Tom Janetske, Division Chief of the Evanston Fire Department.

Firemen activated a Mutual Aid Box Alarm (MABA) seven minutes after they were on the scene and a second level MABA six minutes later, bringing additional fire engines and firefighters to the scene. The response was one of the largest in 2010.

One Evanston firefighter suffered difficulty breathing while fighting the fire. He was not lost or trapped in the blaze, and had other firefighters with him until he was brought out to a stretcher and transported to Evanston Hospital. He remained hospitalized overnight for observation and is doing very well, said the Chief. Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries, said the Chief. There were no occupants in either home at the time of the fire. There were no civilian injuries reported. 

The fires caused extensive damage to the homes at 1809 and 1807 Laurel Ave., and destroyed the garages at these addresses.  There was also extensive damage to the garage at 1811 Laurel. Damages are estimated at $450,000, said Chief Janetske.  

An MABAS Investigator Box Alarm was activated to call additional personnel to investigate the cause of the fire. Evanston Police and an arson investigator from the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshall came to the scene to assist in the investigation. The cause and origin of the fire are still being investigated, Chief Janetske told the RoundTable.