Fire destroys Paper Lantern on Coldwater Road

Firefighters battled a massive blaze at the Paper Lantern restaurant on Coldwater Road Sunday night.
Firefighters battled a massive blaze at the Paper Lantern restaurant on Coldwater Road Sunday night.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A massive blaze destroyed a local restaurant Sunday night.

Shortly before 10:30 p.m. fire crews were called to the Paper Lantern, 4610 Coldwater, and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the building. A passing motorist on Coldwater Road called 911 after seeing smoke coming from the restaurant.

Firefighters never had a chance to get into the building due to strong winds fueling the flames and a concern for the structural integrity of the building.

Crews fought flames from the outside and used an aerial truck to pour water on the roof. Flames were shooting 30 to 40 feet into the air at times and the fire continued to rage an hour after crews were called as high winds continued fueling the flames.

It took firefighters nearly 90 minutes to get everything under control.

Firefighters kept a close eye on the Jo-Ann Plaza shopping center and American Mattress immediately next door to the restaurant. Towering flames and embers pushed into the air from high winds created a concern for nearby buildings. Heavy smoke filled the area and lingered out onto parts of Coliseum Boulevard.

Paper Lantern is a stand-along building that serves Vietnamese and Chinese cuisine, according to the company’s website. The business was closed at the time of the fire and officials said no one was inside at the time the fire broke out.

Paper Lantern’s Facebook page had a post Sunday afternoon that read, “We will be CLOSED today for the safety of our customers and employees due to building issues.”

Firefighters were able to stay warm and rest in a rehab bus provided by Saint Joseph Township Fire Rescue.

FWFD spokesperson Stacey Fleming said utilities to the building were active. Fleming said fire crews worked through the night to extinguish any hot spots.

Most of the building has been destroyed. The roof collapsed about 45 minutes after the fire started and several walls are nearly burned out.

No injuries were reported.

Northbound Coldwater Road was closed between Coliseum Boulevard and Collins Road due to fire hoses and the amount of fire trucks that responded to the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.


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