A Willimantic restaurant that had been open for only two months is closed after a two-alarm fire Wednesday.
Firefighters had to force their way into Nita’s on North after there was a fire in the back of the building.
At about 6 p.m. Wednesday, firefighters smelled the smoke from their firehouse about a block away. They realized where it was coming from and forced their way inside to put out the fire.
No one was inside at the time and no injuries were reported.
The restaurant's owner, Hiu Ta, said Nita’s on North just opened weeks ago.
“It was devastating you know, I put everything in here. It’s hard to see your investment, your business, your future all in flames, smoke, fire,” he said.
A lot of work went into renovating the building recently, including replacing the front sign with a new one – it placed just hours before the fire.
Ta recently took over the restaurant after it was owned by another family for 17 years.
It used to be called 'Nita’s.' It was a staple in the community. The former owners of the restaurant, who are the owners of the building, said they are devastated, too.
In a statement, a family spokesperson said in part: "We feel so bad for the new owners who have done nothing but try to keep up with our legacy."
It further states, "… we’re hopeful that Nita’s on North will rebuild quickly and reopen with these new owners better than ever."
That’s exactly what Ta plans to do.
"All we can do now is count our blessings we want to rebuild we want to come back," said Ta.
The fire marshal has not determined a cause, but the owners of the building told NBC Connecticut the cause of the fire stemmed from a problem with the refrigerator.