A fire broke out inside the kitchen of China King, a restaurant on Grand Avenue, last Thursday around 1 a.m., prompting members of the Baldwin Fire Department to the scene.
When Chief Craig Yanantuono and his firefighters arrived to the shopping center, only black plumes of smoke were visible. “It wasn’t until a few minutes later when we were preparing ourselves to open the door and investigate what was going on that we saw the fire inside the window,” Yanantuono said.
Firefighters broke into the front door and windowpane, causing smoke to billow out. Once the oxygen traveled inside the restaurant, Yanantuono said the fire “began to show itself.”
“We cleared out the whole front window and we attacked from the inside,” he said. “We also had a couple guys on the roof open the vent so we could alleviate some of the smoke and hot air.”
It took about 45 minutes to extinguish the blaze, Yanantuono said, before firefighters checked for hidden pockets of fire inside the walls and ceiling. The Dollar Tree, which is to the left of China King, sustained some smoke damage, while the check cashing business on the restaurant’s other side suffered small smoke and water damage, Yanantuono said.
Yanantuono added that a police officer driving by may have noticed the smoke first and called it in. “We could have lost a lot more stores in there than we did,” he said. “Thankfully, we caught it early enough and were able to contain it.”