A fire that ripped through a Main Street building Friday morning was caused by an electrical malfunction, city officials said Monday.
The city fire marshal determined the blaze began in the second-floor rear porch at 133 E. Main St. and then spread to the kitchen, City Manager Carol Houck said.
The fire heavily damaged the apartment, located above the Jimmy John’s sandwich shop. However, the restaurant was spared from major damage and was open for business on Friday.
The fire was reported at 4:10 a.m., and firefighters arrived to find the back porch engulfed in flames, said John H. Farrell IV, a spokesman for Aetna Hose, Hook and Ladder Co.
It took 45 firefighters from Aetna and three other companies to extinguish the blaze, bringing it under control by 4:47 a.m.
“A quick and aggressive attack kept the fire in check,” Farrell said.
Farrell said the first firefighters arrived within four minutes of the alarm. He attributed the quick response to the fact that Aetna encourages volunteers to stay overnight at the fire stations. Both Station 9 on Academy Street and Station 8 on Ogletown Road had engine crews already in quarters.
No one was injured in the fire.
"The people who were inside woke up, saw it and got out on their own," Houck said.
The two-story building is owned by Todd Ladutko, who operates several rental properties in Newark. It contains one apartment upstairs and the restaurant on the ground floor.
A maintenance worker cleaning up at the site Friday afternoon said the apartment will most likely have to be gutted and rebuilt. He said four people lived there.
The worker credited a fire floor installed between the first and second stories of the building with protecting Jimmy John’s from damage as the blaze raged upstairs. The restaurant suffered only minor water damage, he said.
Heat from the fire also scorched the side of the adjacent Newark Square Apartments.