28 April, 1987
PRINCETON — A fire in an alley between two businesses on Witherspoon Street muted diners from the Tempting Tiger and briefly covered Palmer Square with gray smoke last night, authorities and witnesses said.
In addition to patrons of the restaurant, residents of three apartments upstairs from the cafe and the adjoining Harry’s Army and Navy Store were forced to flee when the smoke started rising shortly before 7 p.m.
Police said no one was injured in the fire, which the Princeton Fire Department brought under control in 15 minutes, but not before the heart of the borough was darkened by smoke. Businessmen along commercial Witherspoon later said the fire knocked out their phones.
“The firemen got there right away and put out the fire very quickly,” said chef William Nabstedt of the nearby Alchemist and Barrister restaurant and bar. He said some customers with dinner reservations didn’t show because fire trucks blocked their cars, “but that was no big deal.”
Police said the blaze started in a wood structure in the alley at the rear of the attached restaurant and Army-Navy store. A police spokesman said investigators late last night were at work on determining how the blaze started.
— PAUL MICKLE