Fire marshal: Muddy Waters fire started in basement freezer

Aug. 18—NEW LONDON — City Fire Marshal Vernon Skau on Friday said the Thursday fire at Muddy Waters Cafe is being investigated as an accident.

He said investigators narrowed down the origin to a freezer in the basement, but are waiting to pull apart the unit until owner David Preka's insurance company comes out for a joint inspection to determine the exact failure point.

Preka on Friday estimated it will take at least two months to reopen the popular downtown cafe. He said he is working on a "temporary solution" at an alternate location to keep his employees working and the New London clientele satisfied while fire damage to the basement and heat and smoke damage to the main level is repaired.

City firefighters were dispatched at approximately 5:30 a.m. Thursday to the 40 Bank St. cafe for a report of smoke coming from the building, according to New London Fire Chief Thomas Curcio.

Curcio said firefighters made a forced entry in the building's lower level, where they found a fire and extinguished it about 20 minutes later.