By FELICIA KRIEG AND DAN HEATH
---- — PLATTSBURGH — A cigarette appeared to be the cause of Wednesday night’s fire at Kentucky Fried Chicken in the City of Plattsburgh.
The City Fire Department received the alarm at 7:38 p.m., with firefighters responding with two engines, said Plattsburgh City Fire Department Assistant Chief Randy Stone.
A dozen or so employees and patrons who were in the restaurant evacuated before the Fire Department arrived, he said.
FLAMES IN WALL
When firefighters rolled in to KFC, it appeared the problem was just a mulch fire, but once they removed parts of the outside wall of the building, they found flames that extended from the base of the wall to the roof line, Stone said.
“We had to tear off the outside wall and the inside wall to make sure it was extinguished.”
Firefighters used foam to help the water better penetrate the wall, he said.
Several cigarette butts were found on the ground outside a door to the restaurant — one that does not have a butt-disposal container located there, Stone said — and that’s where the fire seemed to have started.
He said a cigarette may have rolled underneath the outside wall and smoldered there for a time before catching it on fire.
The restaurant is closed for repair, but owner Ray Aley said he is optimistic it will be able to reopen by Tuesday, Aug. 28, if not sooner.
Food products were moved to another location to prevent spoilage, he added.
Aley said efforts to extinguish the blaze resulted in a hole in the roof.
An insurance adjuster was called Thursday morning to examine the damage.
Stone estimated that to be about $10,000.
City Fire Department’s three other off-duty platoons were called in either to assist at the fire site or stand by the Cornelia Street Fire Station.
South Plattsburgh Volunteer Fire Department also responded with its air truck to fill the firefighters’ compressed-air tanks.
The City Fire Department was back in service by 11:45 p.m.