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Fire heavily damages restaurant in downtown Milford

December 17, 2018

MILFORD - A fire heavily severely damaged Flames Mediterranean & American Grill on Daniel Street in downtown Milford Sunday night.

Battalion Chief Anthony Fabrizi said dispatchers received a 911 call at 8:56 p.m. reporting a fire inside of restaurant. The caller is an employee of a neighboring restaurant and discovered the fire after someone reported an odor of smoke in the area.

“Firefighting units arrived on scene and found the restaurant charged with thick black smoke,” Fabrizi said in a release.

“Fire crews forced entry through the front doors of the structure and advanced hose lines into the building in order to suppress the blaze. The fire was brought under control in approximately fifteen minutes. Although firefighters managed to gain control of the blaze very quickly, the business suffered extensive heat and smoke damage. An adjacent real estate office and barber shop were not affected by the fire.”

The Milford Fire Marshal’s division is conducting an investigation of the incident, and a cause has not officially been released.

The restaurant was reported to be closed for the evening at the time of the blaze.

“When a structure fire occurs, it is imperative to evacuate the residence and call 911 from outside of the building,” Fabrizi said. “As a reminder, proper functioning smoke and carbon monoxide detectors save lives. Please check yours today.”

According to an earlier Connecticut Post article, the restaurant opened in May 2017.

Besides falafel, a well-known Middle Eastern dish, the restaurant also offers traditional dishes found in that part of the world.

Menu items include shawarma sandwiches, where fresh meats are placed on a vertical spit machine where it is grilled and then served on pita bread or wraps, and tabouli salads, with parsley, tomatoes and mint. The restaurant also offers a sfeeha dish, or meat pie, and spinach pie.

True to its name, however, the restaurant also has American dishes, like the popular Flames Burger.

The restaurant was opened by Walied Hanaif. Hanaif, of Palestinian descent who now lives in Ansonia, said always wanted to open a sit-down restaurant — he previously owned a deli in New York City — but couldn’t find the right location. Then, on a trip for ice cream in downtown Milford, he drove by the former bookstore at 12 Daniel St.

Sunday’s fire was the second one to heavily damage a Milford restaurant this season.

On Halloween night, Scribner’s Restaurant - a Milford landmark for 45 years - hit by a fire.

The restaurant remains closed.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help workers who lost their jobs. As of Monday, more than $50,600 has been raised.

The most recent update on the page said “The insurance crew has been in, taking inventory and proceeding with cleanup. Much structural damage to the building that Scribner’s does not own. The Bliss’s (the owners) main concern at this point are their employees that have an unexpected loss of income and the impact this has on their lives and ability to pay their bills.

This fund is hopefully aimed at abating their losses. Please help us find jobs for them, so service oriented and loyal. The outpouring support is so appreciated. As George Peacock so eloquently said, Scribner’s not only provided a dining room, but a living room to the community as well.”

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