How to Avoid Commercial Kitchen Grease Fires

How to Avoid Commercial Kitchen Grease Fires

It doesn’t take a lot to start a potentially devastating commercial kitchen grease fire.

Considering the large measure of food the average restaurant cooks, the accumulation of grease on kitchen appliance hoods and in exhaust systems can lead to disaster.

Your restaurant already has certain rules in place to lessen the chance a grease fire will occur.

You know your employees should make sure pots and pans on stoves have the handles turned in to keep overturned liquids from being ignited by the burners.

Your employees already know to keep their shirtsleeves fitting snugly to avoid being caught on fire by open flames.

And you have trained your employees on the proper use of fire extinguishers.

But you may be ignoring one of the most common sources of commercial kitchen grease fires – the kitchen ventilation exhaust system.

Local and state ordinances require commercial kitchens to keep clean kitchen exhaust systems that meet the code standards set by NFPA 96.

While a clean kitchen exhaust system can help you avoid a commercial kitchen grease fire, it is not enough to keep it clean .

If grease and residue are not removed from your kitchen cooking equipment regularly as well, you have an extremely flammable situation.

A mere spark or an open flame in the wrong place can ignite the entire cooking area of the kitchen.

Greasy residue that is allowed to accumulate can potentially result in the loss of not only your restaurant, but the lives of those inside.

While you need to be vigilant in making sure your kitchen exhaust system stays clean, grease residue buildup can be overlooked by the untrained eye.

There are several companies that will inspect your commercial kitchen exhaust system and equipment can make a detailed list of what needs to be cleaned or corrected to keep your system compliant.

They will also check your ceilings, walls and floors to make sure they are clear of buildup as well.

Regular inspections and kitchen exhaust hood cleanings must be performed to prevent grease fires.

The exhaust system is not truly safe until it is cleaned down to the bare metal.

This kind of job is best left to a professional, one who can thoroughly cleanse the entire kitchen exhaust system, from the access panels, to the fans, to the duct-work and even the grease box.

A commercial kitchen ventilation system also must have exhaust fans that are properly engineered to draw contaminants such as grease and smoke out of the kitchen cooking area.

If this does not take place, grease can accumulate throughout the kitchen and increase fire danger.

So you should also have your system checked to make sure it is in proper working order so that you face as little risk of a grease fire as possible.

If it is not, then you need to seriously consider modifying or replacing the entire kitchen exhaust system.

That will be costly, but when you weigh the cost with the risk your present system may be posing to your restaurant, you will likely realize that your restaurant’s safety is worth the cost.

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Important to document kitchen hood cleaning Casino Insurers Want Contractors To Pay For $81M Fire

Casino Insurers Want Contractors To Pay For $81M

Law360, New York (March 21, 2014, 1:24 PM ET) — Three of a Joliet, Ill., riverboat casino operator’s insurance carriers on Wednesday sued architects, engineers and other contractors on a kitchen renovation project, saying they share responsibility for a 2009 fire and the resulting $81 million in coverage payouts.

In their complaint in Illinois court, National Fire and Marine Insurance Co., Lloyd’s Syndicate 1414 (Ascot) and Axis Insurance Co. are bringing subrogation claims based on their policies covering Empress Casino Joliet Corp., a Pennsylvania-based operator of an Egyptian-themed casino on the outskirts of Chicago.

A 2009 fire that originated in the buffet kitchen left the casino itself untouched but destroyed large portions of the nightclub, steakhouse and ballroom it serviced. National Fire doled out $64.2 million and Ascot $7.1 million under their respective general property policies, while Axis paid $9.8 pursuant to a builders risk policy, according to the complaint.

Empress filed its own action against the contractors in 2012.

“Plaintiffs are filing this separate prophylactic subrogation action solely in order to preserve their subrogation rights against the defendants should there be any contention that Empress is not the proper party to be named as plaintiff on behalf of the interests of itself and of its subrogees,” the suit said.

Targeted in the suit were W.E. O’Neil Construction Co., the general contractor on the renovation project, and five other firms. A welder employed by subcontractor Jameson Sheet Metal Inc. allegedly sparked the blaze while fusing together a new piece of sheet metal ductwork to the existing ductwork for an exhaust hood on the kitchen’s ventilation system.

The inside of the duct was “coated, covered and caked” with 15 years’ worth of cooking grease and other combustible residue that ignited, the suit said.

According to the suit, the subcontractor should never have been allowed to do that work before O’Neil ensured that the building contained an adequate sprinkler system covering the concealed attic and truss space where the blaze quickly spread out of control.

The general contractor also allegedly neglected to follow other National Fire Protection Association standards, to maintain a dedicated “fire watch” professional on site while hot work operations were underway and to ensure that the proper fire control equipment was on hand.

“O’Neil knew, or failed to discover through reckless disregard, of the dangerous propensities of the work, that certain fire protection features were out of service which increased the risk of fire during construction, that there was inadequate clearance between the ductwork and combustibles, of the absence of a rated shaft around the ductwork, and of the absence of a [clearance] reduction system,” the complaint said.

Also named as defendants were Lindon Group, the the architect for the original construction of the casino and the 2008-2009 renovations; the renovations’ engineer of record R.L. Millies & Associates; sprinkler installer Global Fire Protection Co.; and Averus Inc., a kitchen-cleaning outfit that allegedly failed to clean out the ductwork properly.

Even though other structures in the complex were equipped with sprinkler systems, the building housing the buffet kitchen did not contain sprinklers in the concealed attic and truss space as required by building codes, according to the suit.

None of the defendants could be reached for comment Friday.

The insurers are represented by Mark A. Rabinowitz and Kevin P. Caraher of Cozen O’Connor, David E. Walker and Douglas W. Walker of Walker Wilcox Matousek LLP, and Samuel J. Pace, Jr. and Randy C. Greene of Dugan Brinkmann Maginnis & Pace.

Counsel information for the defendants was not immediately available.

The case is National Fire and Marine Insurance Co. et al. v. W.E. O’Neil Construction Co. et al., case number 2014L003223, in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois.

Casino Insurers Want Contractors To Pay For $81M Fire – Law360.