Electrical short at Deer Path Inn causes smoke, evacuation
BY LINDA BLASER firstname.lastname@example.org | @LindaJBlaser October 9, 2013 6:04PM
A Lake Forest Fire engine crew prepares to leave Historic Deer Path Inn, which was evacuated Wednesday, Oct. 9, due to an electrical short in a third-floor elevator control room that caused smoke, but no fire. | Linda Blaser/Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 11, 2013 12:23PM
An electrical short at Lake Forest’s historic Deer Path Inn Wednesday afternoon caused an evacuation of the entire building and more than half a dozen fire departments to respond.
The Lake Forest Fire Department first responded at approximately 12:30 p.m. to an electrical short in the elevator control room on the inn’s third floor.
A maintenance worker initially thought a fire broke out in the elevator shaft due to heavy smoke, officials said. But the short did not actually cause any flames.
“Plastics melted on the controls, and that creates a lot of smoke,” Lake Forest Fire Chief Jeff Howell said.
Due to a fire alarm triggered by the smoke, staff evacuated the building, which is more than 100 years old and sits at 255 E. Illinois Road.
No one was injured.
Additional fire departments called for precautionary backup include Highland Park, Libertyville, Lake Bluff, Knollwood, Lincolnshire and Highwood.
“It’s a hotel, it’s a 100-year-old building, it will burn,” Lake Forest Deputy Chief Kevin Issel said. “If it was an actual fire, it would be a very quick spread, so we called for a lot of help right away.”
Although the short was resolved within roughly 20 minutes, police briefly cordoned off the entire block at all intersections near Deer Path Inn to prevent traffic and pedestrians from coming near the site.
School of St. Mary, which is across the street from the building, was not affected by the rescue worker activity.
The Deer Path Inn elevator will be out of service for an unknown period of time, while electrical repairs are made, Issel said.