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June 18. 2013 1:20PM

UPDATE: Windham's Common Man to open for dinner rush despite fire


A Windham firefighter sweeps water out the entrance of the Common Man restaurant in Windham Tuesday after a late-morning fire. Though the building's emergency sprinkler system extinguished the fire, the building sustained heavy water and smoke damage on the first floor and will need extensive repairs before it can reopen. (APRIL GUILMET/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)


Fire crews from several towns responded to a fire at the Common Man restaurant in Windham shortly after 11 a.m. on Tuesday. The cause of the fire, which left the lower level of the building with heavy water and smoke damage, remains under investigation. (APRIL GUILMET/UNION LEADER CORRESPONDENT)

WINDHAM - A popular Windham eatery was open for business Tuesday evening despite sustaining heavy smoke and water damage from an electrical fire earlier in the day.
Shortly before 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon, restaurant spokeswoman Erica Murphy said the restaurant would open its doors in time for the 6 p.m. dinner rush after the morning's small fire.
According to chief operating officer Warren Dodge, the restaurant's kitchen manager, Kenny Mulligan, was on site doing some of the evening's prep work shortly after 10 a.m. when he smelled smoke.
After being unable to locate the source of the smoke, which had gotten stronger, Mulligan fled the building and alerted the local fire department.
The Windham Fire Department received an emergency call just after 11 a.m., alerting them that the fire alarms and sprinkler system at The Common Man, located at 88 Range Road, had activated, according to Chief Tom McPherson.
Upon arrival, fire crews from six area towns battled thick, heavy smoke throughout the building's lower level, though most of the flames had already subsided.
"It appears the sprinklers were successful in keeping the fire in check," McPherson said.
Fire officials said the blaze, which they later determined to have been caused by a malfunctioning utility strop that ignited a small piece of furniture, appears to have started on the first floor.
Mulligan was the only person in the in the building at the time of the fire and he declined to be transported to the hospital by ambulance. At the urging of management, he was later taken to the hospital as a precaution, Dodge said, though he was given a clean bill of health and later returned to the restaurant to assist with cleanup efforts.
The Common Man isn't open for lunch on weekdays, though they do have a Sunday brunch on weekends.
Fire damage to the building was minimal, McPherson noted, though the downstairs dining room sustained severe smoke and water damage.
According to Dodge, a post-fire inspection revealed the building sustained no structural damage and fire officials gave the Common Man permission to reopen.
AGuilmet@newstote.com
 
 
Previous story follows:
 
 
WINDHAM - A late-morning fire at a popular Windham eatery left the restaurant with heavy smoke and water damage on Tuesday.
The Windham Fire Department received an emergency call just after 11 a.m., alerting them that the fire alarms and sprinkler system at The Common Man, located at 88 Range Road, had activated, according to Chief Tom McPherson.
Upon arrival, fire crews from six area towns battled thick, heavy smoke throughout the building's lower level, though most of the flames had already subsided.
"It appears the sprinklers were successful in keeping the fire in check," McPherson said. Just after noontime, a handful of firefighters remained on the scene, sweeping heavy cascades of water out the side doors.
Fire officials said the blaze appears to have started on the first floor, though the incident remains under investigation.
Just one person - the restaurant's head chef - was believed to have been in the building at the time of the fire. The Common Man isn't open for lunch on weekdays, though they do have a Sunday brunch on weekends.
McPherson said the chef was treated on the scene for smoke inhalation but refused to be transported to an area hospital for further treatment.
Fire damage to the building was minimal, he noted, though the downstairs dining room sustained severe smoke and water damage.
"I don't think they'll be open for dinner tonight," McPherson said.
AGuilmet@newstote.com


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