A quick-moving fire at a Whitestone Chinese restaurant has left its 41-year-old owner in critical condition.
Fire officials were notified at 4:49 p.m. on Saturday about the fire at the Emperor House restaurant at 152-67 10 Ave., in the Waldbaum’s shopping center. The blaze was extinguished at 5:26 p.m.
Officials believe the restaurant’s owner accidentally set himself on fire while trying to douse the kitchen blaze. He reportedly ran out of the building on fire and passersby got him on the ground to put out the flames.
He was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he is reported in critical condition with second degree burns to his head and body.
Two other workers received minor injuries and were treated at the site.
Devon O’Connor, president of the Welcome to Whitestone Civc Association, who was at the scene shortly after the fire was extinguished, said there was not a lot of smoke and he was told that cooking wine fell into the deep fryer, causing an explosion.
“I saw what seemed like endless amounts of firefighters and fire trucks,” O’Connor added. “The firefighters in this town are amazing. They are always first on the scene.”
Fire officials say the blaze is still under investigation.