Hidden flames ravage Maplewood Noodles & Company


Aundrea Kinney/Review • A fire started at the Maplewood Noodles & Company the night of June 17. Maplewood Fire Chief Steve Lukin said the fire was located in voids built into some of the building’s walls as part of the remodel when it was converted from a Burger King to Noodles & Company.

Aundrea Kinney/Review • Because the fire at the Maplewood Noodles & Company started inside the walls, it was difficult for firefighters to get to it, said Maplewood Fire Chief Steve Lukin, so a backhoe was used to tear open some of the walls to access the fire.

A fire burned for hours within the Maplewood Noodles & Company the night of June 17, and the restaurant is closed until further notice.

According to Maplewood Fire Chief Steve Lukin, around 11:30 p.m. a passerby saw smoke coming out of the top of the Noodles & Company building, located at the corner of Beam and White Bear avenues. The person called 911.

The restaurant was closed at the time, the last employee having left around 10 p.m.

Lukin said that when Maplewood firefighters arrived, they saw heavy smoke coming out of the top of the building and smoke coming out cracks around the building’s doors, though once inside the building, firefighters had trouble locating the flames due to remodeling it had undergone when it was converted from a Burger King to a Noodles & Company.

“Noodles bought it, and they remodeled the outside and added all their look to it, so there was a lot of extra voids and walls in there,” Lukin said.

He explained that eventually the fire was located in some of those voids, an upper part of one of the sidewalls.

“We had a heck of a time getting at it, so we actually brought in a backhoe to pull those sides down just at the top, and we were able to extinguish the fire that way,” Lukin said.

It took firefighters more than four hours to completely extinguish the fire because of how long it took them to find and then access the area where it was burning. Lukin noted that once firefighters gained access to the fire, it was out within 15 to 20 minutes. 

No one was injured in putting out the blaze, and the Maplewood Fire Department was assisted by departments from Oakdale, North St. Paul, White Bear Lake and Little Canada.

Although the building looks pretty bad from the outside, Lukin said there is actually very little fire damage inside it, so it will be up to Noodles & Company to determine what will happen to the space.

A message on the Maplewood Noodles & Company webpage states that the restaurant “will be closed until further notice” and that employees will be offered positions at other nearby Noodles & Company restaurants.

Noodles & Company is also working with the Maplewood Fire Department to help determine the cause of the fire, and the fire department’s investigation was still underway as of press time.

Although Lukin said lightning has been ruled out as the cause, “Everything’s a consideration, electrical to anything else that was up there.”

 

– Aundrea Kinney can be reached at 651-748-7822 or akinney@lillienews.com

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