An Evanston Fire Department Division Chief spotted fire at the base of a chimney at 1318 Elmwood yesterday and called in the alarm. Residents were home at the time and unaware of the fire. The alarm was elevated to a Box Alarm which brought mutual aid companies from Skokie, and Morton Grove.

Evanston house fire 2-20-12 on Elmwood

A firefighter in the attic is visible out the roof as he directs others to a hot spot that needs overhaul. Tim Olk photo

The Daily Northwestern wrote that:

The fire started on the attic of the third floor and caused “pretty extensive damage,” (City of Evanston Spokesman) Palmer said. The cause of the fire has not yet been determined and is still under investigation.

The old, Victorian-style home sustained enough damage to cause structural problems to the building, Palmer said. The residents were forced to move out for the time being and the house was boarded up.

Evanston house fire 2-20-12 on Elmwood

Overhaul is performed on all levels of the house at 1318 Elmwood after the fire was extinguished. Tim Olk photo

Evanston Now reported that:

Fire Division Chief Geoff Block called in the first report of the fire, which soon brought all of Evanston’s fire units to the scene at 1318 Elmwood Ave. as well as a tower truck from Skokie and a squad from Morton Grove.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber says the four residents of the two-and-a-half-story Victorian home managed to escape without injury. They’d been in the basement or on the first floor of the home and weren’t aware of the blaze.

The fire had already broken through the roof by the time firefighters arrived and dragged a hose line up to the third floor converted attic space. Klaiber says crews managed to confine the fire to the third floor, but that there was some water damage to other parts of the home.

 Tim Olk submitted several images from the scene.
Evanston house fire 2-20-12 on Elmwood

Evanston Truck 22 had their main to the roof. Tim Olk photo

Evanston house fire 2-20-12 on Elmwood

Evanston Lt Bill Muno applies water to cool hot spots on the roof. Lt Muno has been promoted to the position of Battalion Chief and will assume his new role next week. Tim Olk photo

Evanston house fire 2-20-12 on Elmwood Evanston Engine 21

Evanston Engine 21 is just down the block. Tim Olk photo


Evanston house fire 2-20-12 on Elmwood Evanston Battalion Chief Kunita

Evanston Battalion Chief Don Kunita talks with firefighters outside the house after the fire was knocked down. This was the chief's last day on the job as he was retiring after 35 years with the department. Tim Olk photo

The Evanston Fire Department website notes that:

On February 20, 2012 Battalion Fire Chief Donald Kunita will retire from the Evanston Fire Department with 35 years of service to the City of Evanston. Chief Kunita started with the Department in 1976 as a Firefighter. In 1979 he became a Paramedic and was promoted to Captain in 1985. He worked as a fire inspector and investigator and was a state certified evidence technician. Kunita rose to the rank of Battalion Chief, commander of the 32 member Shift in 2003.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber said Chief Kunita has been involved in numerous projects over the course of his career and was hired during a time when the department’s new paramedic program was getting underway. Kunita came on with 9 other recruits, including the department’s first female firefighter. Klaiber said he wants to thank Chief Kunita for his 35 years of dedicated service to the community of Evanston. Kunita recalls many changes in the fire service over the years that included the addition of breathing apparatus, better radio communications and enclosed cabs on vehicles that no longer required firefighters to ride on the outside of apparatus. Many changes to the methods used today and life safety codes have protected the citizens of Evanston and the firefighters that protect those within the community. A generation of firefighters has benefited from Don’s clear and steady leadership throughout his distinguished career Klaiber said.

More photos from the scene will be available HERE.