September 1, 2010 in City

Tung Loon fire on Division may be electrical

By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photo

Brothers Christian, 13, and Dustin Ainsworth, 8, pass through the parking lot, September 1, 2010, where a fire damaged the Tung Loon Garden restaurant on Tuesday night. The building, at 3627 N. Division in Spokane, Wash., suffered roof and interior damage.
(Full-size photo)

A Spokane fire investigator this morning said he is looking at the likelihood that a Tuesday night fire at Tung Loon Garden restaurant on North Division was caused by an electrical malfunction.

Fire Lt. Jimmy Bowen said the fire started in the attic structure of a decorative Mandarin-style roof that had been built above the earlier Tung Loon building at 3627 N. Division a number of years ago.

The facade was heavily decorated with neon lights, and gave off a red glow on foggy and misty nights that could be seen from around the neighborhood.

Bowen said that neon lighting has been linked to other fires around the country, but it was too early to tell if that was the cause.

The investigator was up on the roof and facade checking electrical lines at mid-morning.

“The fire generally didn’t get into the restaurant,” Bowen said. “There is a ton of water damage and some smoke damage inside the restaurant.”

He said damage could be repaired.

Firefighters responded about 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Tung Loon Garden. They had to back out as the roof was collapsing, and they extinguished the flames by pouring water from outside.

No one was injured.

County records show the building was constructed in 1960. Its owner is listed as the Chan Family Trust, with taxes paid by Tat Yuen Chan, of Spokane.

Owner Chin Ho Cho said he took over the restaurant in the early 1980s and is currently in business with the family, including his brother-in-law, Tat Yuen Chan.

The owner said he had been leasing the restaurant to Jong Pil Kim.

The building is insured by the property owners.

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