By Paul Tennant
---- — WINDHAM, N.H. — A two-alarm fire has forced the indefinite closing of the Common Man restaurant on Range Road..
This Saturday fire was the third time this year firefighters were called to the 88 Range Road establishment. No injuries were reported.
The fire caused extensive damage to the roof and ceiling, according to Lt. Scott Delaney. An employee reported the fire at 12:47 p.m. The restaurant was not open at that time, Delaney said.
The fire started under the eaves of the building and prompted evacuation and an indefinite closure. The interior of the restaurant sustained water and smoke damage, Delaney added.
Windham Fire Chief Thomas McPherson said the sprinkler system was activated but couldn't extinguish the fire above it.
Crews from Derry, Salem, Pelham, Hudson, Hampstead and Londonderry assisted Windham firefighters in knocking down the blaze.
A malfunctioning ballast in a fluorescent light prompted a 911 call from the restaurant July 26. McPherson said there was no damage from that incident..
“We found it to be a defective light ballast in the basement,” McPherson said at that time. “The occupants inside reported the power had gone out in the basement. When they went to investigate, they saw a haze of smoke and called 911.”
McPherson said firefighters used thermal imaging equipment and isolated the problem to the light. They vented the building and turned it over to the property owner shortly thereafter.
On June 18, a malfunctioning electrical strip ignited a cabinet, which activated an alarm system and sprinklers. The sprinkler system extinguished the fire, but it caused thousands of dollars in damage.
“I think the two incidents were totally separate, in no way connected,” McPherson said after the July 26 incident.
The restaurant opened in 1997 and is part of the statewide chain of Common Man eateries. The Windham restaurant is in a converted barn.