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A major early morning fire on Dec. 29 in downtown Evanston destroyed three businesses: the Pine Yard Restaurant, TechniColour Nail & Day Spa and Taco Diablo Restaurant.

The fire was reported at 2:24 a.m. at the Pine Yard Restaurant, 1033 Davis Street. At 2:34 a.m., the fire was elevated to an extra alarm, which brought support from surrounding communities. At 3:36 a.m., the fire was upgraded to a second alarm.

“We appreciate the outstanding efforts of the Evanston Fire Department who are protecting our city 24 hours a day,” said Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl.  “Our hearts go out to the business owners whose businesses have been lost, and we are grateful that no one was seriously injured.” 

All of the businesses were closed at the time of the fire. One Evanston firefighter was treated at the scene for an ankle injury and was transported to Evanston Hospital for treatment. The firefighter was released from the hospital the same day. Twelve animals were evacuated from nearby Bramer Animal Hospital, located at 1021 Davis Street. A fire wall protected the adjacent Wheel & Sprocket Bike Shop from the fire, but the store will have water and smoke damage.

“The Evanston Fire Department did a fantastic job battling the blaze for nearly five hours,” said Fourth Ward Alderman Don Wilson. “It is unfortunate that these three businesses were lost, but we were able to prevent the fire from extending beyond the immediate area.”

Communities providing assistance were Morton Grove, Wilmette, Northfield, Skokie, Winnetka, Park Ridge, Glenview and Niles. At 6:30 a.m., the fire box was struck and the other communities were released. Evanston Fire and Life Safety remained at the scene to extinguish hot spots.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Division Chief Dwight Hohl told the RoundTable on Dec. 31. “The Fire Prevention Bureau and the businesses’ insurers are trying to find the cause and origin of the fire,” he said. “It could take a while in light of the magnitude of the fire and situation there.”