Fire temporarily closes Norwalk Chinese food restaurant, causes nearby evacuations

It happened at Chiu Fai Garden and caused the rest of the businesses that occupy that building to evacuate too, including a veterinarian and a pet store.

Marissa Alter

Feb 23, 2023, 12:11 AM

Updated 462 days ago

Share:

A Chinese food restaurant in Norwalk is temporarily closed following a fire at 48 Westport Ave. Wednesday morning. It happened at Chiu Fai Garden and caused the rest of the businesses that occupy that building to evacuate too, including a veterinarian and a pet store.
Fire officials said the fire started around 10:45 a.m. in the kitchen of Chiu Fai Garden, then shot up through the ventilation system to the roof. The restaurant was preparing to open at the time and initially wasn’t aware of it, one official told News 12.
A person from across the street ran over to tell them that they saw flames coming out of the roof,” explained Alison Graham, who manages CT Breeder, which is also in the building. “They told my staff and my staff started evacuating puppies.”
Graham said there were about 60 puppies in the store at the time.
“One of my biggest fears was a reality today,” she told News 12, adding that employees followed the store’s emergency plan, using carriers and bags to get the puppies out. Some staff even put puppies in their own cars.
“We have a phenomenal staff here that, you know, really cares about the puppies. They were able to get everybody out in a timely fashion and everybody was safe,” Graham said.
Nearly 30 Norwalk firefighters responded and knocked the fire down in about half an hour, according to officials. But investigators and the building department remained on scene long after, talking with Chiu Fai Garden’s owner and the building manager. A note was put up deeming the restaurant structurally unsafe for business.
“It was a little scary,” said Kat Eggart, owner of the Spot at Just Dance Studios, which shares a wall with the restaurant. Eggart said she was up the road on her way to another location when the fire began.
“I actually saw the smoke, and I said to my brother, ‘Someone's house is on fire,’” she recalled.
Eggart said not long after, she got a text with the news and immediately drove over. Eggart told News 12 she was relieved to find flames hadn't spread to her business and there was no water damage. But the studios were filled with smoke, which she’s working on venting. She said the situation could’ve been far worse if this happened a different day.
“We're on vacation for the week. Luckily, there were no classes, and we didn't have to run out the building with a bunch of kids so, very lucky,” Eggart said.
Once the fire was out, it was back to business as usual at CT Breeder and the veterinarian practice. Chiu Fai Garden will need repairs. It’s unknown when it will reopen.


More from News 12