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3 Firefighters Hurt Battling Extra-Alarm Blaze

Silhouette Of Firefighter. File Photo. (Nate Azark/WBBM)

Silhouette Of Firefighter. File Photo. (Nate Azark/WBBM)

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Updated 12/25/10 4:59 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. (STMW) - Three firefighters were injured battling an extra-alarm Christmas fire that raced through three garages and two homes in north suburban Evanston.

The first 911 call came at 5:07 a.m. when someone reported a fire at 1809 Laurel Ave. in Evanston, said Don Kunita, an Evanston Fire Department Battalion Chief on the scene.

Firefighters arrived three minutes later and found a fast moving fire that was spreading from at least one garage towards home at 1807, 1809 and 1811 Laurel Ave., Kunita said. Within minutes, firefighters elevated the blaze to an extra-alarm.

“It was getting big rapidly,” Kunita said.

As crews were getting close to controlling the blaze, a firefighter was injured and a “mayday” response was issued, Kunita said.

“He was always accounted for,” Kunita said. “He obviously needed help. We got him out of there.”

Kunita said the firefighter was taken to Evanston Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The nature of his injuries were unknown, but Kunita said he was not burned.

Evanston Fire Battalion Chief Steve Perrino said the firefighter, who has been with the department about 25 years, remained hospitalized Saturday night.

“He’s doing very well,” Perrino said.

Two other firefighters suffered minor injuries and were treated on the scene, Kunita said.

It was unclear how many people, if any, were inside the homes, but no residents were injured, Kunita said.

The blaze left three garages and two homes damaged, Kunita said.

The home and garage at 1809 Laurel Ave. suffered the most damage. A garage and home at 1807 Laurel Ave. were also damaged.

The garage at 1811 Laurel Ave. was “ravaged,” but the home was “untouched,” Kunita said.

Although it was a holiday, the fire department had normal staffing, Perrino said.

The blaze knocked out power to as many as 10 homes, and Commonwealth Edison was sent to the scene.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation Saturday night, Perrino said.

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