Two fires caused by improper disposal

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Four other departments assisted the Westbrook Fire Department in fighting a two-alarm fire at Kozeta's Restaurant on Bridgton Road Monday afternoon.

WESTBROOK — Improperly discarded cigarettes were the likely cause of a two-alarm fire Monday that caused significant damage to Kozeta’s Restaurant, 597 Bridgton Road.

Following that fire Monday and another later in the day on Brook Street, Fire Chief Andrew Turcotte urged precautions in discarding smoking materials and disposal of hot ashes from stoves and fireplaces.

Firefighters arrived at the restaurant at 1:13 p.m. saw heavy smoke and fire on the first and second floors. Turcotte said a neighbor spotted the fire and called it in. Three tables of patrons had just left and two employees were on duty but there no reported injuries.

The fire ignited in the rear of the building and went up a wall, and trusses were burned heavily, Turcotte said Tuesday.

Two hydrants were within 150 feet. Firefighters didn’t battle ice as temperatures were above freezing, but the wind whipped up to 25 mph, Turcotte said.

Departments from Gorham, Falmouth, Portland and Windham assisted Westbrook at the scene. “The crews did an outstanding job,” Turcotte said. “We are fortunate to have mutual aid as close as they are.”

Ike Peppard of the state’s Fire Marshal’s Office assisted Westbrook’s investigation. Firefighters cleared the restaurant scene about 3:30 p.m.

Later Monday, firefighters extinguished a yard fire outside a Brook Street home. The fire appeared to have ignited from ashes, believed to be cold, that were deposited on a lawn.

That fire was whipped by heavy wind gusts, but firefighters contained it to the lawn and brush. Turcotte said it was “very, very fortunate” that the home was not impacted.

Turcotte said hot ashes from a fireplace should be placed in a metal container.

“It’s fairly dry,” Turcotte said about conditions in the environment.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or rlowell@keepmecurrent.com.

Four other departments assisted the Westbrook Fire Department in fighting a two-alarm fire at Kozeta’s Restaurant on Bridgton Road Monday afternoon.