SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

August 23, 2013

Fire damages Ipswich restaurant

Firefighter praised for saving colleagues

Paul Leighton
The Salem News

IPSWICH — An Ipswich firefighter pulled two of his colleagues to safety seconds before a portion of the Stone Soup Cafe collapsed during an early morning fire, the town's acting fire chief said.

Lt. Sean Cronin pulled firefighters Jeremy Dalton and Peter Nich out the way as a decorative lighthouse attached to the restaurant began to fall right where they were standing, acting Fire Chief Jeffrey French said.

"He basically saved two firefighters' lives when the lighthouse collapsed," French said.

The fire broke out at about 3:48 a.m. Friday and drew firefighters from Topsfield, Hamilton and Rowley as well as Ipswich. Firefighters pulled down ceilings in the dining area in order to get at the fire as it extended into the roof's soffit overhang, French said. French said the fire was knocked down by 4:29 a.m.

The building was unoccupied and no injuries were reported. French said he did not have an estimate on the amount of damage to the building.

The Stone Soup Cafe is located at 141 High St., down the street from Ipswich High School. The restaurant is owned by Mark and Stefani Macklin and was scheduled to close on Sunday.

The owners of The Farm Bar & Grille in Essex planned to transform the building into an upscale Mexican restaurant.

French said the cause of the fire is under investigation but does not appear to be suspicious.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.