This a prime example why you need to have your kitchen hood exhaust system cleaned.
But as tends to happen, owners at Sweet Basil and Stroud’s are finding that it’s taking longer than they predicted to get their restaurants operating again.
Sweet Basil at 2424 N. Wood lawn been closed since early April, when a kitchen fire caused an estimated $400,000 damage.
The Italian restaurant is getting a total interior remodel, and owner Charli Singh has faced delays because of issues with placement of a grease interceptor.
Though he’d hoped to reopen in early August, he said, he’s just now taking bids from contractors and now says it’ll be October before the restaurant is ready.
“I thought I’d be open by now, to tell you the truth,” he said. “A lot of people are waiting.”
Meanwhile, it’s also taking Stroud’s, the family-style fried chicken place at 3661 N. Hillside, longer than anticipated to reopen.
A kitchen fire shut down the restaurant in early July. General Kevin Allis hoped the restaurant would be back in early August, but the updates provided on the restaurant’s Facebook page say it’s going to be early September.
I’ll let you know when both restaurants settle on opening dates.
That is more the reason restaurants or any cooking establishment wants to make sure they know how important it is to have a cleaning schedule.
The money that is being lost is a shame I emphasis its imperative that a commercial cooking site have routine inspections of their Kitchen exhaust systems and the cooking appliances.
This story is an example of what can go wrong but skipping corners it’s too late when a fire breaks out so I urge to have inspection plan put in place.
Grease accumulation, equipment malfunction and general poor housekeeping are all potential hazards.
From 2006 to 2010, an estimated average of 7,640 structure fires in restaurants and bars were reported to U.S. fire departments each year.
Associated average annual losses included two civilian deaths per year, 115 civilian injuries and $246 million in property loss, according to the National Fire Protection Agency.
Although 71 percent of restaurant and bar fires remain relatively small, they are no less damaging to business owners.
Loss of revenue, stress on staff and the cost of repairs make bouncing back an expensive task.
On top of this, owners run the risk of losing customers to competitors when “Closed” signs hang in the windows.
Almost all commercial cooking generates grease, which is a huge fire hazard to its highly combustible nature.
Because of this, there is really no way to completely erase the threat of fire.
However, there are precautions you can take to decrease the likelihood of a potentially catastrophic event.
Exhaust hoods and ducts are designed to collect cooking vapors and residues. Poorly cleaned kitchen hoods and ducts account for 21 percent of all fires.
The National Fire Protection Association’s fire code NFPA 96 prescribes the minimum fire safety guidelines for cooking equipment.
Kitchen exhaust hoods, grease removal devices, exhaust duct-work and all other components involved in the capture, containment and control of grease-laden cooking residue.
The NFPA 96 standards are considered necessary to offer an proper level of protection against damage to property and loss of life.
Restaurant owners must install a UL300-approved automatic fixed fire suppression system.
To protect their ducts, grease removal systems, hoods and commercial cooking equipment such as deep fat fryers, woks, ranges, griddles and broilers.
This system must be serviced every six months.
In addition to complying with fire, health and building codes, a professionally installed kitchen exhaust hood system helps keep up a clean, safe environment.
Commercial cooking generates grease-laden air and other pollutants. An adequately designed kitchen exhaust system is vital to maintaining good airflow.
Kitchen hoods should be made of and supported by steel or stainless that meets minimum thickness requirements.
Other approved materials of equal strength and fire corrosion resistance may also be used.
NFPA 96 recommends that kitchen hood and duct cleaning frequency be based on an individual restaurant or bar’s cooking volume:
Monthly – For systems serving solid fuel cooking operations
Quarterly – For systems with high-volume cooking operations such as 24-hour cooking, charbroiling or wok cooking operations
Semi-annually – For systems serving moderate-volume cooking operations
Annually – For systems serving low-volume cooking
Grease filters are the first line of removal for grease-laden vapors.
Clean filters improve ventilation and cut the fire hazard significantly. Filters should be cleaned on a weekly basis for moderate- to high-volume cooking operations.
Employee fire safety and response training should include a fire prevention plan and an emergency action plan.
Is a powerful defense against fire threats and can mean the difference between a localized fire and an uncontrolled blaze.
In addition to basic fire training and an action plan, hands on training can offer a better understanding of fighting fires.
Employees should also be familiar with personal protective equipment and fire evacuation routes and should have real training in using a fire extinguisher.
A list of all major fire hazards, proper handling and storage rules for hazardous materials, and potential ignition sources.
Procedures to control the accumulation of flammable and combustible waste material. Procedures for regular maintenance of safeguards installed on heat-producing equipment.
Names or job titles of employees responsible for maintaining equipment
A well-developed emergency action plan should give employees with basic training on what to do in the event of a fire.
Employers should check the emergency action plan:
When the plan is developed, when the employee’s responsibilities or designated actions under the plan change, when there are updates to the plan.
While proper employee training and prevention efforts can substantially mitigate fire risks, use of flames, oil and grease makes it difficult to fully fireproof restaurants.
Instituting a prevention plan and maintaining a clean, properly cared for working space minimizes these hazards.