*Udated 12:00pm, 5.13.11
The World Journal is reporting that Blue Ocean Seafood's owners believe it will take at least two years to reopen the restaurant, which burned Thursday morning. The building was home to the region's first traditional cart-pushed dim sum restaurants and the Lam family has owned it for two decades, the Pasadena Star-News reports. They ran a different restaurant in the building for 15 years, Kin Hing, which about seven years ago Blue Ocean replaced. The dim sum restaurant's current manager told the World Journal he hadn't had time to consider whether to rebuild the restaurant. More than a dozen employees are also now out of work. With its low prices and "free lobster give out," Blue Ocean was well received even in the bad economy. Former Blue Ocean employees told the World Journal that although customers were less generous with tips than before the economic crisis, they could easily make $2,000 a month.
*Updated 3:00 pm, 5.12.11.
A fire burned Blue Ocean Seafood Thursday morning, destroying the restaurant that Los Angeles Magazine recently recognized as among the top 10 Chinese eateries in the county. Assistant Alhambra Fire Department Chief Ray Mosack said the department responded to a report of smoke coming from the restaurant at 7:41 a.m. Fire fighters found flames in the rear area near the kitchen. The blaze rapidly spread into the walls and attic and surrounding complex. The Alhambra police department said it was a three-alarm fire, very close to a four alarm. Monterey Park, Pasadena, Arcadia, Alhambra and San Gabriel fire departments were sent to the scene with 12 engines, two rescue ambulances, and one air unit.
The fire companies deployed to the roof, but were withdrawn when the situation became dangerous and instead aerial ladders with cannons were deployed. “ We went into defensive mode and pulled our crews out as the roof started to collapse," Mosack said. "Once the roof collapses, the fire gets under the debris and it is a matter of getting down under it. This is the most significant fire of 2011.”
For hours, the fire snarled traffic at Garfield and Valley Boulevard. The police sent out a warning at 8:47 am of a structure fire near Garfield/Valley and recommended individuals avoid the area for the next two to three hours due to heavy traffic. By 9:30 the fire was under control and nobody was injured.