The man in charge of Takamatsu restaurant at 5532 E. Speedway Blvd. says efforts are already underway to fix the damage caused by a fire that closed the restaurant early this morning.
Peter Koga, who operates the local Takamatsu and other locations in Phoenix and Chandler, said he got a call at about 3 a.m. this morning to report that a motion sensor was going off at the restaurant. He soon found out that a fire had broken out—and that it had likely been burning for several hours.
Capt. Tricia Tracy, a Tucson Fire Department spokeswoman, said the Tucson Police Department first reported smoke in the area of the restaurant at 3:25 a.m. this morning. One fire engine and three firefighters were initially dispatched, but that number climbed to nine engines and 30 firefighters after the first crew found heavy black smoke and extremely high temperatures at the scene.
"It was extremely hot, and we were worried that the roof might collapse," said Tracy.
Firefighters had the fire under control in 24 minutes, said Tracy. One firefighter was treated on the scene for minor injuries. She said an initial damage estimate stands at $400,000, but said that figure may climb when an investigation of the structure is completed.
Tracy said the cause of the fire was a burner that had been accidentally left on beneath one of the heated tables that the restaurant uses for teppan yaki.
Koga said the restaurant would be closed for at least several months for repairs. He was busy this morning getting an insurance claim filed so workers could get started.
Koga also said he was working to ensure that the 40 employees who will be out of work as a result of the fire would be covered by his insurance.
“It’s very unfortunate, but there’s nothing we can do to change it, so we just have to make the best out of it and come back stronger,” said Koga.
Koga said fans of the restaurant should check in often with Takamatsu’s Facebook page, where he will be posting updates on the return of the restaurant.
The Tucson Takamatsu location opened in 1995 and is known best for its sushi, teppan yaki and Korean barbecue.