A Dong Owner Says Popular Vietnamese Restaurant Will Be Back

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A popular Vietnamese restaurant in Des Moines is closed after a fire wreaked havoc in its kitchen. The fire began in a pot, according to the owners of A Dong and the Des Moines Fire Department.

For more than 25 years, Neal Ngu and his wife, the owners of the restaurant, have been boiling a beef broth and then letting it simmer on the stove overnight, every night without any problems, but on Saturday night they accidentally forgot to turn the burner to low.

Around 8:15 Sunday morning, a passerby saw flames shooting out of the roof of the popular Vietnamese restaurant and called the fire department, but the damage had already been done, as the fire had destroyed the kitchen.

Des Moines Fire Captain Steve Brown says the restaurant has a kitchen extinguishing system to handle the flames over the stove, but not a sprinkler system to put the fire out.

Captain Brown explained to Channel 13 News, “what they had at the restaurant, there was fire that got beyond the kitchen hood, so the extinguishing system did not extinguish the fire on the outside…if there was a sprinkler system in the building, it would have taken care of that fire, the fire wouldn`t have gotten beyond the hood.”

Since the fire, Ngu has been moved by all of the support he and his wife have received, telling Channel 13 News, “we're getting lots of emails and phone calls and people stopping by.”

Mr. Ngu says he and his wife will rebuild and the restaurant will be back, adding, “oh yes, we have to. I`m still young and still got many, many years to go, so we will be here for a while, trust me.”

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