Firefighter hurt, several businesses destroyed in Evanston fire
BY MATT MCKINNEY AND ASHLEE REZIN Staff Reporters December 29, 2013 9:16AM
Updated: January 31, 2014 6:23AM
An early-morning fire destroyed three downtown businesses Sunday in north suburban Evanston, leaving store owners uncertain about the future of their shops.
The blaze began in the ceiling of the Pine Yard Restaurant, 1033 Davis St., at about 2:20 a.m., said Evanston Fire Department Division Chief Tom Janeteske.
It then spread to other businesses — TechniCoulour Nail & Day Spa and Taco Diablo — all in the same building.
Officials are investigating the cause of the fire, but it did not appear to be suspicious, Janeteske said.
Wheel & Sprocket Bike Shop, located next to Taco Diablo, had water and smoke damage, Janeteske said. All of the businesses were closed at the time of the fire.
Various fire departments, including Evanston, Skokie and Morton Grove, responded soon after, Janeteske said.
By late Sunday morning several firefighters were still on the scene, extinguishing hot spots and assessing the charred buildings.
The smell of burnt metal carried along Davis Street as morning brunch-goers stopped periodically to look and take pictures.
“It’s a beautiful building. You have to rebuild — and that’s what we’ll do,” said George Radaios, 66, who has co-owned the building with his brother for 25 years.
Simon Wen, owner of the Pine Yard, an Evanston mainstay since the early 1970s, bought the business seven months ago.
He doesn’t know how much the damage will cost him, but hopes he can eventually rebuild his Chinese restaurant.
“They were all old customers — and the sons and daughters of old customers — who had been coming there for years,” he said. “If I can reopen, I will.”
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl said she’d been a “longtime customer” of the Pine Yard and thinks the damaged businesses will bounce back soon.
“Those stores have a great synergy and they’re important to the neighborhood. We’ll do whatever we can to help them rebuild,” she said.
One Evanston firefighter suffered an ankle injury while battling the blaze, and was taken to Evanston Hospital, Evanston spokeswoman Martha Logan said in a statement.
Twelve animals were also evacuated from nearby Bramer Animal Hospital, at 1021 Davis St., she said.
No other injuries were reported.