Evanston Building that Burned Last Month had No Sprinklers

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Still pouring water on the fire Dec. 29 after the roof and west wall collapsed.

The Pine Yard restaurant building that burned last month in Evanston wasn't equipped with fire sprinklers, and -- but for favorable weather conditions -- Fire Chief Greg Klaiber says, the blaze might have spread down the entire block.

Klaiber told aldermen Monday night that the wood bow truss roof design used in the building is the most dangerous type of roof structure to deal with in a fire -- that if it becomes weakened by the flames, it's prone to sudden collapse.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber briefs aldermen on the Pine Yard blaze.

Over the years numerous firefighters in other communities have been killed in such incidents.

That forced fire crews to pull back from the roof and interior of the building shortly after the fire began around 2:30 a.m.

Klaiber says they ended up pouring more than a million gallons of water on the fire from three aerial ladders and a number of additional hose lines during the five hours it took to extinguish the blaze.

Klaiber says they were lucky in that the temperature was relatively warm and there was very little wind in the early morning hours of Dec. 29. Otherwise, he says, the fire could have spread all the way down the block to Maple Avenue.

And several other buildings on the block have the same bow truss roof design as the Pine Yard.

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Still pouring water on the fire Dec. 29 after the roof and west wall collapsed.

The Pine Yard restaurant building that burned last month in Evanston wasn't equipped with fire sprinklers, and -- but for favorable weather conditions -- Fire Chief Greg Klaiber says, the blaze might have spread down the entire block.

Klaiber told aldermen Monday night that the wood bow truss roof design used in the building is the most dangerous type of roof structure to deal with in a fire -- that if it becomes weakened by the flames, it's prone to sudden collapse.

Fire Chief Greg Klaiber briefs aldermen on the Pine Yard blaze.

Over the years numerous firefighters in other communities have been killed in such incidents.

That forced fire crews to pull back from the roof and interior of the building shortly after the fire began around 2:30 a.m.

Klaiber says they ended up pouring more than a million gallons of water on the fire from three aerial ladders and a number of additional hose lines during the five hours it took to extinguish the blaze.

Klaiber says they were lucky in that the temperature was relatively warm and there was very little wind in the early morning hours of Dec. 29. Otherwise, he says, the fire could have spread all the way down the block to Maple Avenue.

And several other buildings on the block have the same bow truss roof design as the Pine Yard.

- See more at: http://evanstonnow.com/story/public-safety/bill-smith/2014-01-14/60942/no-sprinklers-in-building-that-burned#sthash.lhbHKPOi.dpuf