A fire in a high-rise building can be one of the most frightening and dangerous incidents for any resident and one of the most challenging and complex operations for any fire department. Firefighters must contend with numerous factors like location of the fire beyond the reach of ground ladders, wind driven fires, tremendous manpower and resources needs, as well as the evacuation of residents.
On March 12, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the Evanston Fire Department responded to 1900 Sherman Ave. for the fire alarm activation. Upon arrival they were informed of a kitchen fire on the 11th floor with water flowing in the stairwell and smoke showing on the 11th floor.
The fire investigation team found that a kitchen fire in an 11th floor unit had been extinguished by a sprinkler head activation, allowing an invalid resident and guest of the unit to escape to safety into the hallway to await assistance. One resident was treated for smoke inhalation and transported to the local hospital for follow-up care. The Red Cross assisted three residents, who were displaced for two days.
It was just last November that the Cook County Housing Authority, under the direction of the Evanston Fire Prevention Bureau retrofitted 1900 Sherman Avenue with sprinklers throughout the building, including the residential units. “There is no doubt in my mind that the upgrade to the suppression system saved the day for us, but more importantly, the lives of the residents and limited the damage to this property,” stated Fire Chief Klaiber.
Evanston Fire had no report of injury to personnel.