had a close call Sunday night after something began smoldering in the basement – about 13-1/2 months after a fire shut down the popular bar and restaurant for nearly a year.
Battalion Chief Joe Vitale said it’s been the second time in two years that he has been called for something smoldering in the basement. He believes people are smoking outside and flicking their cigarette butts on the sidewalk. The structure of the sidewalk and building there makes it possible for the smoldering cigarettes to roll into the basement, according to Vitale.
“There was nothing else in the basement that we could attribute it to,” Vitale said.
Firefighters were on the scene for about 45 minutes after being called to the restaurant at 9:29 p.m. Sunday. Minimal water damage was reported as firefighters used about 25 gallons of water to extinguish the smolder in the basement.
It's back to business as normal, though, at People's Park. Manager Vicky Hagen said Monday morning that after the last fire, the staff freaked out a little, but that the smolder was nothing.
“Everybody was safe,” she said.
significantly damaged People’s Park, which first opened in December 2008. on the ground after firefighters knocked down the blaze.
But instead of just fixing the damage and reopening right away, the owners – Dan and Jim Taylor – instead. People’s Park also has city approvals for rooftop dining.
“We have been talking about expanding for a long time, but we were trying to save money to do it,” Dan Taylor told Waukesha Patch in April. “We would have had to close the restaurant to expand but because of the fire, we had the opportunity because we are down. We can use the opportunity while we are down to expand then we don’t have to shut it down in the future.”