Quick thinking and a swift response from firefighters contained a fire early Wednesday morning at Kevin's Cafe at 40 W. Sherman St. in Lebanon.
A breakfast cook was preparing gravy for the morning breakfast crowd just before 5 a.m. when she noticed small flames beneath the burners of the stove top. She poured salt on the fire but realized it was beginning to climb the back wall into the hood system. She also used an extinguisher, but it became clear that the fire was growing too large.The employee evacuated the building while dialing 911.
Lebanon fire crews responded with an engine, a truck company, a medic unit, and a Battalion Chief by 5:13 a.m. Firefighters stretched lines into the restaurant and extinguished the fire before continuing to check for hot spots. A crew also accessed the rooftop to check for damage.
Nobody was injured, and the fire was limited to the stove and backsplash, with some minor smoke and water damage.
The investigation determined that grease had been built up beneath the gas burners, which ignited when the burner's were lit. Also, there was enough grease accumulation on the stove top and back splash to allow the fire to quickly spread up toward the hood system.
Lebanon Fire Division Chief Jason Bolen said it is critical for commercial kitchens to properly maintain their fire suppression systems and have their hoods professionally cleaned at least every six months, or every 3 months for kitchens with heavy frying or extended hours.