CARIBOU, Maine — Despite a fire striking about noon Monday at the Jade Palace in the Skyway Plaza, the Chinese restaurant was back in business about four hours later.
The fire started in a trash can under a desk in a back office and was quickly contained thanks to a working sprinkler system and quick action by firefighters, according to Caribou Fire Chief Scott Susi.
“There were no injuries, and the first arriving engine crew gave the fire a really good knockdown,” Susi said. “They made a quick entry to the back office and were able to get the can out from under the desk. Most of their time was spent tending to papers that were burning.”
Susi and Karin Wong, who works at the restaurant with business owner and husband John Wong, were unable to determine what started the fire in the trash can.
The building mostly had smoke and water damage because of the sprinkler activation, according to the fire chief.
Caribou firefighters spent about an hour at the Jade Palace, and Presque Isle firefighters covered the Caribou station while they were out.
When called at 4:30 p.m., Wong said during a phone call that representatives of several organizations, including the state Department of Health and Human Services and city code enforcement, already had inspected the restaurant and informed her that she could allow customers back into the establishment.
“The health department, electric department and landlord came in to inspect my office, where the fire happened,” Wong said, “and they said everything is OK.”
Wong added that, since her office is far from the main restaurant area, the fire didn’t touch any other part of the business.
“A lot of people thought we were going to close,” Wong said, “but we’re OK. It was just a little office fire.”