The famous Orchidee Thai restaurant in Lippenslaan in Knokke-Heist was evacuated Monday evening after the fuse box in the technical room began to ignite. According to business manager Vincent Opstal, this happened after rainwater seeped through the roof.
This in turn would be the result of a poorly covered plaza above the restaurant, where a thorough renovation is taking place. “It’s clear to us that the contractor was not sound,” Vincent says.
Orchidee Thai is a constant value at Knokke-Heist and a classic for those who love Thai cuisine. The case was almost fully booked on Monday evening when the problems started around 7pm. Business owners suddenly noticed how water began to seep through the roof.
When the same water reached the technical room and thus to the fuse box, the situation became dangerous. “At one point we saw sparks and called emergency services,” Vincent Opstal says.
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At that time, there were about 30 guests in the restaurant and 15 people had to arrive. “The police and firefighters decided almost immediately that the entire case should be cleared,” Vincent said. Moreover, according to the man, problems can be avoided. “The rain water leaked because the patio above the restaurant was not covered well enough to withstand heavy rain.”
Above Orchidee Thai, a contractor is working on an extensive renovation of the apartment complex. The roof has now been completely removed and the facade is also “open”, allowing rain to come in from all sides. “It’s clear to us that the contractor was not sound,” Vincent says. “The expert’s report should clarify this.”
Vincent and his wife, Chalor Kinbet, hope to reopen their restaurant by the end of the week, ideally by Thursday. “Eventually, the power went out too, so some repairs to the fuse box were needed. The luck, if you can call it that, is that we were open on Monday evening and spotted the issues quickly. In the other case, there was probably a fire and the damage was greater,” he realizes. Vincent, who finally decided that existing customers should not pay anything.
“My logic, because most of them did not go beyond the appetizer. Although at the same time I think it is a shame that half of the customers left immediately without saying or ordering anything. We would like to thank the guests who stayed.”
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