A two-alarm fire damaged three businesses at the corner of Witherspoon Street and Spring Street in downtown Princeton on Sunday afternoon. No injuries were reported, officials said.
The More Cafe, Sakura Express and the Silver Shop were damaged and the apartments above the businesses had smoke damage, Princeton Director of Emergency Management Bob Gregory said.
Gregory said a plastic bucket used for cigarette butts caught fire. The floor caught fire and then spread across all three businesses.
“People saw the bucket on fire outside and fortunately called 9-1-1,” Gregory said. “The police got there and pulled away the bucket. Then the fire chief and Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad arrived. Chief Tomalin saw a red glow in the floor. Firefighters had to break through the stairs and go to the basement to get all of the flooring.”
Tenants in the apartments were able to get their belongings. The Red Cross offered assistance to those displaced by the fire, but everyone had a temporary place to stay. Tenants will be able to move back in once electrical inspectors take a look at the place and say it is fine to turn the power back on. The businesses were not as lucky. The floors were charred, and the smoke damage means all the food will have to be thrown out.
Witherspoon Street was closed for about two hours. Firefighters from Princeton and several surrounding communities responded.