An overnight fire in downtown Lawrence sent one firefighter to the hospital with a minor injury and caused smoke and water damage to a restaurant.
Workers were removing damaged items from Jefferson's Restaurant Monday morning. The restaurant had smoke and water damage from the overnight fire, which was caused when an aluminum ladder came into contact with the power line coming into the building, causing electrical arcing.
Lawrence-Douglas County Fire & Medical firefighters responded to an alarm at 12:15 a.m. in the second floor above the restaurant at 743 Mass. When firefighters arrived they found heavy smoke coming from Jefferson's roof and the fire was contained to the roof area.
Two more alarms were sounded and eventually 31 firefighters responded to help. Firefighters had the blaze under control by 1:34 a.m.
One firefighter who had a minor arm injury was transported to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where he was treated and released. Mark Bradford, deputy fire chief, said the firefighter's name would not be made public.
Bradford said investigators believe the fire was caused when high winds from an overnight storm blew an aluminum ladder that was atop the rear first-floor roof of the restaurant against the electrical power line coming into the building on the second floor.
The arcing between the ladder and metal sheeting on the second floor caught the wood beneath the sheeting on fire, Bradford said.
When firefighters arrived, they found there was no way to get into the second floor, which had been closed off several years ago. They had to cut a hole in the wall to make a door to get inside, he said.
The fire itself was contained to the upper floor, but smoke and water damaged the restaurant below.
An investigator and an inspector were working with the restaurant owner Monday morning to get a damage estimate, Bradford said.
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