60 people evacuated after fire in downtown Tempe - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Valley And State

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60 people evacuated after fire in downtown Tempe

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Posted: Thursday, March 20, 2014 9:55 am

An ice machine is the reason more than 60 people had to be evacuated from an apartment in downtown Tempe.

Tempe firefighters said the ice machine at Umami restaurant caught fire around 1:30 a.m. on Thursday.

The fire itself did little damage but witnesses said smoke quickly spread throughout the entire building. The fire forced people living on the 2nd and 3rd floors to evacuate.

"We've had alarms before but typically they go off after a few minutes. Tonight they didn't go off and when we looked down we saw firefighters everywhere so we go out of there," said Todd Einck.

Einck said he was sound asleep when the first alarms went off. In all, evacuees spent about 45 minutes watching firefighters go in and out of the building.

"It was a very small fire that was contained to the appliance so we were able to knock it down quickly. The smoke is what's going take us a long time to clean up," said Captain Kevin Bailey of the Tempe Fire Department.

Umami was closed at the time of the fire. No employees or residents were hurt.

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