Northwest NEWS

September 6, 1999

Local News

Lightning strikes China Cottage

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The lightning storm last week is believed to have caused the fire at China Cottage in Woodinville.
Staff photo by Marshall Haley.

by Marshall Haley, staff reporter

   WOODINVILLE--Chung Young and his wife, Huong, said they didn't know what to think when they arrived to open their China Cottage restaurant at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 31. One of their glass entrance doors had been completely broken out by firemen responding to a fire started by the lightning storm the night before. A passing policeman spotted smoke coming from the top of the building at about 6 a.m.

   "We didn't know what happened until we got here," said Huong. "We found out later that our (building) landlord had called our house at eight o'clock, but school starts tomorrow and we had already left to take our children to see their new classrooms."

   At 11:40, the Youngs were starting to turn away lunch customers because their electricity and gas had been turned off by the firemen.

   "The electrician fixed the damaged wires in the wall; now we have to wait for a state inspector to come and okay the repair," said Huong. "Then he has to call Puget Sound Energy, before they will come and turn the rest of our power back on. The state told us they can't come today (Tuesday) unless we pay them $300 to come after hours. We don't know how long we'll be closed."

   On Tuesday afternoon, the Young's accepted the state's offer. The state inspector arrived Wednesday afternoon and Puget Sound Energy came later to restore the remaining electricity.

   Firemen told the Youngs the heavy rain probably kept the fire from spreading. After tearing away the two interior and exterior wall sections around the smoking area, in the upper southeast corner of the building, they found the fire had been limited to a couple of smoldering two-by-fours.

   A door at the bottom of the spiral staircase inside that rounded corner of the building kept smoke from spreading into the main part of the restaurant.