CARLSBAD >> Breakfast service at Happy’s restaurant was cut short Friday morning when fire broke out in the kitchen. Fire inspectors and the owner agreed that it was caused by grease that dripped through a small crack on the side of the grill and was ignited by the pilot light’s flame.
The restaurant, on the corner of National Parks Highway and Hidalgo Road, may be closed for a while, said Carlsbad Fire Chief Rick Lopez.
“We should be closed about a week,” said owner Carol-Renee Modrall.
Fortunately, she said, there was no structural damage because the fire was confined under the grill surface.
By noon, some of Modrall’s employees had washed dishes and cleared the kitchen of most evidence of a fire.
Martha Mauritson/ Current-Argus Carol-Renee Modrall sits in the dining area of her restaurant, Happy’s, where a grease fire in the kitchen forced everyone from the building just after 8:30 a.m. Friday. She will do some cleaning and replace the grill and hood before reopening, she said.
Modrall met Friday morning with Fire Marshal John Miller about upgrades that will need to be done in the 1960s-era building, which she leases.
A new grill and hood will be a big expense, but Modrall said that will be first. Then she will bring other items up to code as soon as she can. And her restaurant employees will work on cleaning and renovation so that they will still have a paycheck coming in.
Modrall said her restaurant has been in this location for 16 years.
The incident comes after another South Carlsbad restaurant suffered fire damage a few weeks ago. The Pizza Inn on National Parks Highway was damaged when fire broke out in a building connected to the restaurant. The dining area was not affected, according to Lopez. The suspicious fire is being investigated as a possible arson.