Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire inside a restaurant at an Evanston strip mall Saturday afternoon, preventing injuries and preserving the building with the help of a functioning sprinkler system, according to the Evanston Fire Department. Fire crews were called shortly after 1 p.m. to the 1900 Dempster St. for a report of a fire inside the Subway restaurant during a busy lunch hour. The alarm was soon upgraded to call in firefighters from nearby communities for cover.
Firefighters found heavy smoke billowing from the front of the building and were told of the active fire inside. After entering the building they noticed an active sprinkler system keeping the fire in check and allowing crews to quickly extinguish the blaze, according to Division Chief Paul Polep. All patrons and employees were able to exit the building before the arrival of firefighters, and there were no injuries reported.
The department credited the working sprinkler system and the rapid response of firefighters for saving the Subway and other attached business in the Evanston Plaza shopping center, although the restaurant suffered a significant level of smoke and water damage. There were no signs of foul play and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.