Northwest Asian Weekly
On Jan. 19 at 3 a.m., residents on the floors above V Garden Restaurant at 308 Fourth Avenue South smelled smoke, heard fire alarms, and called 911. By 4 a.m., Seattle firefighters arrived at V Garden and found flames coming from a restaurant. Firefighters contained the fire to the first floor. However, smoke from the fire spread into apartments on the seventh, eighth, and ninth floors of the building. Some residents were evacuated. No one was in the restaurant at the time of the fire. No one was seriously injured due to the fire.
The restaurant had closed at around 2 a.m. when the owners left. At that time, the owners stated the restaurant was fine. As the fire alarm and smoked crept into the upper floors of the building, the building’s residents rushed out in pajamas. Many stated they were very nervous about the fire. They stated that false fire alarms occur frequently in the building. At first, residents thought it was another false alarm.
One elderly man was transported to the hospital in a private ambulance for treatment of respiratory issues, and one firefighter was transported to Harborview Medical Center for a knee injury. The fire was determined to be accidental, caused by an electrical problem in V Garden. Nothing appeared suspicious, and the fire was deemed an accident. The damage was estimated at $250,000.
V Garden owners, Chiu-kit Lee and his wife, learned of the fire when their son read news about it on the web later in the morning. When the fire occurred, the fire department notified the building’s owner, but not the restaurant owners. When the owners learned of the fire, they immediately went to the site with friends. The insurance company was already there. Lee said that he is now concentrating on cleaning up the site and fixing the damage so that he can reopen for the Lunar New Year. He said he is very optimistic.
V Garden has been at its current location for five years. Before V Garden, Chau’s Chinese Restaurant and Bakeman, also Chinese-owned, occupied the space. ♦