Stratford Fire Forces Businesses to Close Temporarily, Injures Firefighter

A fire at a restaurant in a commercial strip mall Friday  that injured a firefighter and caused several businesses to close temporarily may have been started intentionally, Stratford police said.

Stratford firefighters responded to 594 Success Avenue on Friday at 8:45 p.m. after a fire broke out in Jalapeños Restaurant. The building the restaurant is in also houses other eateries and businesses on the street level and an "unoccupied storage area" on the second floor, according to Stratford Deputy Chief Brian Lampart.

When firefighters arrived, they observed flames quickly spreading through the second floor, causing the roof to cave in, Lampart said.

Stratford Police Lt. Frank Eannotti confirmed Saturday that the fire appears incendiary in nature. Police are offering a $2,500 reward for any information.

It took 45 minutes to put out the fire. A firefighter was transported to an area hospital to be treated for minor burns to the face, Lampart said.

Several of the businesses will stay closed until the town's building official clears them to reopen, he said. 

The State Fire Marshal's Accelerant Canine Unit responded and the "canine did alert on more than one area on the second floor within close proximity to the rear exit stair," he said.

The exact cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to fire officials.

Bridgeport and Milford firefighters also assisted on scene and with coverage at Stratford's station.

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