NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) — A family-owned restaurant was severely damaged in a fire late Friday morning – and the flames also spread to the owner’s home, located above the business.
The fire broke out just after 11 a.m. at the Lebanese Kitchen, located on Purchase Street, near Pope Street. Nabih Moujabber, who lives with his family in the apartment above the restaurant, watched helplessly as his home and his business went up in flames.
“Thirty years of my life to build what I have, it went so fast, ” he said. “Hopefully we can put everything back together, I’m a fighter.”
Nabih’s son Alex noticed the flames and instead of running out of the burning building, he ran back inside and up to the third floor to save the family’s three dogs – Malteses named Nina, Sheila, and Jazz.
“It was really scary, when I opened the door there were flames just shooting in on me,” he said. “I ran upstairs, grabbed two of the dogs, ran down, went back up for the other dog because it was hiding under a couch,”
Gary Moujabber expressed gratitude for his brother’s bravery.
“They’re just as big a part of the family as we are,” Gary said of the dogs.
Black smoke could be seen billowing over the tops of buildings as crews worked to contain the fire.
The cause remains under investigation.
“We’re not sure where it started,” said New Bedford Deputy Fire Chief Paul Coderre. “We have a lot of work to do inside. It’s going to be hot and intensive, but we have the manpower to get it done.”
Codderre said the fire started to spread to a nearby building, but was quickly extinguished.
No injuries were reported.
It was the second fire in New Bedford Friday, after crews fought flames at R&B Rubberized on Washburn Street earlier in the day.