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A Sunday morning fire at A Dong, a Des Moines Vietnamese restaurant, might have happened when some heating equipment was left on “high” overnight, one of the owners said.

A firefighter said that nobody was injured — some residential tenants got out safely. Percy Coleman, acting shift manager with the Des Moines Fire Department, called the effects “pretty extensive,” particularly some smoke damage.

A passing cyclist reported the fire at 1511 High St. sometime before 8:15 a.m., Coleman said.

Departing firefighters could see smoke from Station 1 on the south edge of downtown as they departed, Coleman said. By the time they reached 15th Street and Grand Avenue, a few blocks from A Dong, heavy black smoke was coming from the building.

The fire was believed to have started in the kitchen area on the northeast side of the building. The tenants live on the southwest side and didn’t know about the fire before a passer-by alerted them, Coleman said.

Neal Ngu, who with his wife, Ailien Nguyen, owns A Dong, said that he expected to learn that a cooking error led to the blaze.

“Usually every night, we start cooking the broth for the next day,” using high heat at first and then switching to low heat for overnight. Ngu said he thought that the heat might not have been turned down.

“It’s right in that spot,” he said.

Coleman said fire department investigators would take a closer look inside.

A Dong has been a popular lunch and dinner stop in Des Moines since 1989. The extent of the fire’s effects on the business was not immediately clear.

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