Firefighters work at the scene of the Thursday fire in the 900 block of Judson Avenue. When arriving firefighters saw “heavy fire showing,” they called for assistance from neighboring suburban departments, Evanston Fire Chief Paul Polep said. Credit: Richard Cahan

A Thursday morning fire in a three-story apartment building at 930 Judson Ave. was contained and no one was injured after at least six other area fire departments responded, Evanston Fire Chief Paul Polep said.

“It was a heavily involved fire that started in a third-floor apartment,” Polep said to reporters at the scene. An EFD news release said firefighters responded about 8:30 a.m.

Polep said the fire department came “within about four minutes” of receiving the call, and immediately called a third alarm to get help from neighboring suburbs when firefighters saw “heavy fire showing” as they arrived.

Evanston Fire Chief Paul Polep speaks at the scene of the fire. Credit: Richard Cahan

A first-foor resident in a neighboring building said they started smelling “exhaust” smells around 8:30 a.m. and later could see flames shooting from the top floor and the windows burst out.

Wailing sirens were heard across Evanston Thursday morning as fire trucks from Park Ridge, Skokie, Winnetka, Wilmette, Morton Grove and Niles responded to the fire and lined up on Main Street to Hinman Avenue.

Polep said the fire was put out quickly by attacking it both internally, in the apartment, and externally, on the roof. It was a “very aggressive attack which saved this building,” he said.

“Residents were able to exit the building safely upon arrival of fire crews, and no civilian injuries have been reported,” the EFD news release said. “During search and rescue efforts, two cats were found deceased within the fire unit.”

Smoke and water damage from the incident will keep some apartment residents from returning to their units. “American Red Cross was notified to assist 13 displaced residents, offering mass care and shelter services,” the EFD release said. “No firefighter injuries were reported.”

The fire department release said that all affected apartment residents had renter’s insurance.

None of the students at Lincoln Elementary School across the street from the building were evacuated. The school opened its doors to social workers to help coordinate fire assistance.

Munaiz Ahmed lives at 934 Judson Ave and had to evacuate Thursday morning, Feb. 9, because of the fire in the building next door. Credit: Wendi Kromash

Newlyweds Munaiz Ahmed and his wife, Mehnaz, who live at 934 Judson, the building next door to the fire, woke up this morning and smelled smoke. They went outside to see what was going on, they said, and when they tried to go back to their apartment, fire department officials told them they had to evacuate.

The couple have only lived in Evanston about three weeks. Munaiz previously lived in Lincolnwood. Mehnaz, who declined to be photographed, recently arrived here from Dubai after her visa paperwork came through. 

The Evanston Police Department tweeted Thursday morning that it was assisting EFD at the fire scene, as roads were closed for emergency vehicles. A second tweet said the joint EPD-EFD Public Safety Drone Team would be using a drone at the scene of the fire.

A third EPD tweet, at 10:15 a.m., reported that the fire had been struck and roadways would be reopening.

Keep reading the RoundTable for a complete wrap-up of this story and others.

Wendi Kromash, Susy Schultz and Ian Mitchell contributed to the story coverage. Evan Girard contributed to the photographic coverage.

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...

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