Debra Burns, a tenant for eight years, believes building management should replace stoves in the building. Richard Koenig, of Housing Opportunity Development Corporation, said the stoves are safe. “We replace all stoves that have an issue,” he said. Credit: Richard Cahan

A fire damaged one apartment in the Claridge, a low-income housing apartment at 319 Dempster St. on Monday afternoon, displacing one resident, according to Evanston fire officials.

No one was injured.

The fire, which started in a first-floor kitchen, was hosed down by at least six Evanston firefighters, authorities said.

“Due to a very aggressive interior attack, our crews were able to extinguish the fire before the sprinklers were even activated,” said Evanston Fire Division Chief Kimberly Kull.

The 48-unit, single-room occupancy building suffered serious fires in 2016 and 2021, authorities said. The building was remodeled 20 years ago so that every tenant has a small kitchen and bathroom.

Tenant Debra Burns blames the stoves. “Something needs to be done,” Burns said.

Richard Koenig, executive director of Housing Opportunity Development Corporation, which developed and manages the building, said tenants need to be more careful in cleaning their stoves.

“It’s upsetting when something like this happens,” he said. “It creates a stigma. But this is an important house for people of Evanston who need a place to live.”

Richard Cahan

Richard Cahan takes photos for the Evanston RoundTable. He also is publisher of CityFiles Press, a small but mighty media company that believes in the power of words and pictures. You can reach him at...

Leave a comment

The RoundTable will try to post comments within a few hours, but there may be a longer delay at times. Comments containing mean-spirited, libelous or ad hominem attacks will not be posted. Your full name and email is required. We do not post anonymous comments. Your e-mail will not be posted.

Your email address will not be published.