Tinga Taqueria owner is looking to reward the good samaritan who alerted the Montclair Fire Department of a small fire in the establishment during the early hours of July 3.

While walking by the restaurant on Sunday at around 6:10 a.m., a resident spotted smoke and sparks coming from a frozen drink machine in the Bellevue Avenue Mexican restaurant. 

David Fishman, the owner of Tinga Taqueria, received a call from the Montclair Fire Department around 6:20 a.m. informing him of the fire. 

With the help of the alert bystander and the fire department, the only damage that the business sustained was smoke damage. 

“It’s just amazing that somebody was walking by the store Sunday morning. I mean, it's unbelievable,” Fishman said. 

Damage from spark caused by the machine. (Chelsey Johnston/Staff)
Damage from spark caused by the machine.
(Chelsey Johnstone/Staff)

Now, Fishman wants to reward the resident who spotted the fire with free Tinga for life. 

“I mean, they saved us. We're trying to find these people,” Fishman said. A call was put out on Tinga’s social media platform on Monday morning asking the restaurant's followers to help him find the “Tinga Hero.”

However, Fishman not only wants to reward the individual who called the fire department, but also wants to give back to Montclair’s Fire Department and is planning a firefighter’s benefit as well. 

“The firemen were incredible. I mean, you kind of hear these stories of them coming in and wreaking havoc to put the fire out,” Fishman said. 

Fortunately for Fishman and the restaurant, the firefighters were able to put out the fire quickly and efficiently with an extinguisher, which allowed the damage from the electrical mishap to be minimal. 

“There's computers and all other electronic equipment right by where this was and everything's working fine,” Fishman said. 

After getting clearance from the fire and health department, Tinga Taqueria is currently back open, although they are not able to serve their signature frozen drinks.