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    Police-Fire Reports
    Wednesday, February 21, 2024

    Fire marshal: Muddy Waters fire started in basement freezer

    David Preka, right, of Muddy Waters Cafe, talks with Mayor Michael Passero, left, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, and other local officials, not shown, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, outside Muddy Waters Cafe, a day after a fire closed the cafe. Blumenthal, the mayor and state Rep. Anthony Nolan, D-New London, and a few city councilors visited with Preka after a press conference on an unrelated topic at the Custom House Pier at the New London Waterfront Park. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    From right, David Preka, of Muddy Waters Cafe, talks with Mayor Michael Passero, City Council member Reona Dyess, and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, outside Muddy Waters Cafe the day after there was a fire at the cafe. Xhovani Preka, second from right, David’s cousin, looks on. Blumenthal, the mayor and a few city councilors visited with Preka after a press conference on an unrelated topic at the Custom House Pier at the New London Waterfront Park. (Dana Jensen/The Day)
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    New London ― City Fire Marshal Vernon Skau on Friday said the Thursday fire at Muddy Waters Cafe is being investigated as an accident.

    He said investigators narrowed down the origin to a freezer in the basement, but are waiting to pull apart the unit until owner David Preka’s insurance company comes out for a joint inspection to determine the exact failure point.

    Preka on Friday estimated it will take at least two months to reopen the popular downtown cafe. He said he is working on a “temporary solution” at an alternate location to keep his employees working and the New London clientele satisfied while fire damage to the basement and heat and smoke damage to the main level is repaired.

    City firefighters were dispatched at approximately 5:30 a.m. Thursday to the 40 Bank St. cafe for a report of smoke coming from the building, according to New London Fire Chief Thomas Curcio.

    Curcio said firefighters made a forced entry in the building’s lower level, where they found a fire and extinguished it about 20 minutes later.

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