The owner of the Mandarin Palace and Mandarin Karma restaurants which were destroyed by a fire on Wednesday has told The Derry Journal that he feels “traumatised and totally numb” after the incident.
The fire started in the Mandarin Palace on Wednesday afternoon and at its height 130 fire-fighters from all over the North of Ireland helped to battle the blaze. No injuries were reported.
Mr. Stan Lee, whose family first opened the Mandarin Palace on the Strand Road in 1989, said he was also overwhelmed with the messages of support he received from people in the North West.
“I am absolutely traumatised and totally numb - I have had one hour of sleep in the last 48 hours,” said Mr Lee.
“We build the business up for 25 years, it was like a baby to me and now it’s gone. Words can’t convey how I am feeling right now,” he added.
Mr. Lee said it wasn’t until the early hours of Thursday morning that he saw for himself the damage caused by the fire.
“A member of the fire service called me up at 1am on Thursday and asked me if I could meet him at the restaurant.
“When I saw the damage to my restaurant by the fire I couldn’t believe what I was looking at - I think I am still in shock.”
The Mandarin Palace and the Mandarin Karma restaurants employed 68 people and it is unclear whether any of the jobs will be saved.
“I have had about 200 phone calls over the last few days from people I know and people I don’t know.
I am absolutely traumatised and totally numb - I have had one hour of sleep in the last 48 hoursMandarin Palace owner Stan Lee
“The messages of support and offers of help have been overwhelming - I will not be able to thank the people of Derry and Donegal enough. My main concern now is for my 68 staff and my employees,” he added.
Mr. Lee went on to thank the emergency services who helped to control and extinguish the fire.
“I would like to thank the brave prompt action of the emergency services, the fire service and the PSNI who responded to the scene of the fire.
“I would also like to thank all of our customers for their support over the last 25 years and I hope to see them in the near future,” added Mr. Lee.