Evanston fire destroys building at Davis Street, Oak Ave.

December 29, 2013 (EVANSTON, Ill.)

The fire destroyed three businesses on Davis between Oak and Maple.

The fire, which started in the Pine Yard Restaurant and spread to adjacent businesses, broke out after 2 Sunday morning, when flames erupted into the night sky and consumed the building.

In the daylight, building owner George Radaeious got to see how bad the damage really is.

"Got sick to my stomach, you know," he said. "We've owned this building for 25 years. It's a landmark. It's a beautiful building. We spent a lot of money to keep it up."

It spread from the restaurant to a nail salon and then to a newer taco restaurant. A fourth business, Wheel and Sprocket Bike Shop, the only one in the state, was spared from the fire but not by damage.

"Pretty ugly," said Gretchen Bauer, Wheel and Sprocket Bike Shop. "We have a basement and there's probably 14 inches of water in it right now, so it'll slowly drain."

Over a dozen pets were taken out of the Bramer Animal Hospital next door as a precaution.

A firefighter fractured his ankle while fighting this blaze but will be okay.

The building, right in the heart of downtown Evanston at the corner of Davis and Oak, is a total loss and a city official says the timing is pretty sad, too.

"It's going to be a little set-back, but the way Evanston bounces back I know it's going to be a good thing," said Carolyn Dellutri, Executive Director, Downtown Evanston. "It's ironic that (Sunday) is the 150th birthday of Evanston."

Radaeious says as heartbreaking as it is, it could have been worse.

"That was the first thing the fire department told us, 'George don't worry about it, it's a total loss, you have insurance,'" he said. "The best thing is no one got hurt.

The building owner also confirms to me that the tenants have agreed to come back and he plans to rebuild.

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