Where's the fire?

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The Word Magazine's website reported last week that the vaguely satanic neon sign at The Crazy Buffalo, a restaurant/bar/night club on De Tham Street, had caught fire following an "electrical fault."

No one was quoted in the blog item, but the website did feature a charred-looking daytime photo of the ten meter-long filigree which presides over the shenanigans on Pham Ngu Lao Street every night.

On Thursday morning, a lone man rappelled down the three-story façade, daubing the remains of the smoke-breathing buffalo with dull red paint.

The neon piping had all been removed and the painted backing had been hastily covered over.

Phuong, the 24-year-old manager working the morning shift, insisted there had been no fire. He wanted everyone to know that management had not changed and the Crazy Buffalo was still in business.

"It was old," he said of the sign. "This is the down season, so we thought it would be a good time to re-paint the building and get a new sign."

He expected the new sign to be completed by June 1. He declined to say how much it had cost.

Neighbors on the surrounding three corners responded to questions about a fire with downcast eyes, as though they had been asked about something shameful.

The women working at the pharmacy across the street said they didn't know if there had been a fire.

The owners of Kim Travel Agency, which sits catty-corner to the bar, said they didn't think there had been a fire.

Tuyen, a waitress at the Go 2 Bar across the street, said there had been a fire next door but that was three months ago.

The Crazy Buffalo had been forced to change the sign, she said, because it was too big. The new one would be smaller.

The editor of The Word stuck to his story. "It was smoldering," he said. "People saw it."

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