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home : news : north central illinois   February 6, 2016

3/6/2013 8:11:00 AM
UPDATE: Fire destroys downtown Princeton restaurant


Princeton firefighters blocked a section of South Main Street while responding to a fire upstairs in a building housing Habanero's Mexican Grill and Cantina. The first was extinguished by 8 a.m.
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Princeton firefighters blocked a section of South Main Street while responding to a fire upstairs in a building housing Habanero's Mexican Grill and Cantina. The first was extinguished by 8 a.m.
Lee Strubinger
Princeton Bureau Chief



PRINCETON — A downtown Princeton building appears to be a “total loss” after an early morning fire Wednesday.

Firefighters were called around 1:30 a.m. to 630 S. Main Street because of a fire that broke-out in the building that houses Habanero’s Mexican Grill and Cantina.

Firefighters encountered extreme smoke conditions when they arrived on the scene.

“When firefighters initially got into the building, they only got in about 15 feet then conditions changed and they had to end up backing out. When I got on the scene there were still considerable smoke conditions at that time. We went ahead and started a defensive attack on the fire,” said Princeton fire chief Chuck Woolley.

Within 20 minutes of arriving the fire had breached the building’s roof, he said.

Firefighters were on the scene until roughly 8 a.m. They managed to limit damage to neighboring buildings to smoke and some water.

“Usually in this type of construction, keeping a fire to just one building is uncommon. Usually there are a couple of them that get involved,” Woolley said.

Over the course of the fire about a dozen fire departments assisted. Malden, Wyanet and Bureau fire departments were still assisting around 8.

No one was injured in the fire. A cause has not yet been determined, but a state fire marshal will be investigating today.

Woolley said firefighters will continue monitoring the building to make sure no hot spots flame up. The upper floor of the building contained unoccupied apartments.

Emergency crews blocked northbound South Main Street north of the Bureau County Courthouse during the fire. The restaurant opened in June 2012 in the former TownsEnd building

 Lee Strubinger can be reached at (815) 879-5200 or ntprinceton@newstrib.com. Matthew Baker can be reached at (815) 220-6933, or lasallereporter@newstrib.com.












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