Decorative roof lighting source of Tung Loon fire

SPOKANE - A huge fire that engulfed the Tung Loon Garden Restaurant on North Division burned Tuesday night for almost an hour before anyone noticed.

The fire was electrical in nature, the source the decorative neon lights around the restaurant?s roof. Investigators say on the front of the building there was a false decorative wooden roof decorated with neon lights. They say that?s where the fire started.

?The construction of the building itself lent the fire the upper hand in this case,? Spokane Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer said.

On Tuesday night it was difficult to miss the Tung Loon restaurant as flames shot into the sky at times nearly 20 feet above the roof.

Assistant Chief Schaeffer says the fire started shortly after the business closed at 8:30 but they didn't get a call until nearly 10 p.m.

?Even on a busy road like Division, it burned for a long time undetected,? Schaeffer said. ?When it finally did break through the roof, we started getting calls on it.?

The restaurant's owner said Wednesday their goal is to rebuild the restaurant and eventually reopen.

?Hopefully with the insurance money, working with owners and tenants, they'll reopen soon, that's my goal to help them accomplish that,? Schaeffer said.

Firefighters were able to save parts of the back of the building like the kitchen and an office. The rest of the building was a total loss.