Saturday, April 21, 2001

Lights blamed for Prime & Wine fire

Sprinklers limit damage; doors may reopen in week

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        SYCAMORE TOWNSHIP - Firefighters are crediting a sprinkler system for containing a fire late Thursday at the Prime & Wine restaurant — the second time in less than eight years that the restaurant has been hit by fire.

        There were no injuries, but damage was at least $100,000, Sycamore Township Fire Chief B.J. Jetter said.

        “There was a massive amount of smoke damage, and water damage from the sprinkling system,” the chief said. “The sprinkling system kept it from having more fire damage.”

        Firefighters received an alarm from the restaurant in Sycamore Plaza just after 11 p.m. and found heavy smoke coming from the roof and front doors, Chief Jetter said. The restaurant had closed about an hour before and no one was inside when the fire broke out.

        The blaze was sparked by decorative lights in a dining room tree.

        “My assistant had just left prior, within 10 minutes,” said Jim Capano, the restaurant's co-owner.

        Sycamore firefighters were assisted by crews from Madeira, Indian Hill and the Deer Park-Silverton Joint Fire District.

        Fire damage was confined to two dining rooms, but water damage was visible throughout the restaurant. On Friday restoration workers were busy cleaning up.

        “We hope that we can have most of this ready to reopen within a week,” Mr. Capano said.

        Prime & Wine employees were calling patrons who had reservations for Friday and today.

        Restaurant officials said they are grateful that the damage wasn't worse.

        “The sprinkler system/fire alarm system was in great working order,” Mr. Capano said. “Everything performed exactly like it was supposed to.”

        Restaurant officials will place their roughly 35 employees in other restaurants or compensate them until the Sycamore Plaza location reopens, said Karen Mounce, Prime & Wine manager.

        Thursday's fire brought back memories of the original Prime & Wine, a free-standing building just yards from the current location. That restaurant was destroyed by fire on Christmas Eve in 1993. That blaze was caused by an outdoor light on the restaurant that ignited some mulch.

        The new Prime & Wine was opened in 1999 by a different group of owners. Mr. Capano's group took it over in October, Ms. Mounce said.


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