Saturday, October 1 2022

A fire damaged an apartment at The Claridge, a low-income housing unit at 319 Dempster Street on Monday afternoon, according to Evanston Fire Department, displacing a resident.

(Courtesy of Evanston Fire Department)

No one was hurt.

The blaze, which started in a first-floor kitchen, was doused 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-occupancy building suffered more serious fires in 2016 and 2021, authorities said. The building was renovated 20 years ago so that each tenant has a small kitchen and a bathroom.

Tenant Debra Burns blames the stoves.

“Something has to be done,” Burns said.

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

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


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