According to Chesterfield Observer, patrons and employees scrambled to evacuate the McDonald’s at 2300 Willis Road on 13 July 2010 at around 11:52am. An employee had discovered fire behind a deep fryer. It quickly spread into the restaurant’s kitchen exhaust system. Sirens screamed from fire engines and police cruisers as first responders rushed to the scene.
Crews saw smoke rising from the roof as they arrived. The aerial ladder was quickly raised to the roof, allowing firefighters access to the fire, which had spread into the exhaust system. Additionally, a team of firefighters entered the building to make sure all patrons and employees were safely out.
The fire was brought under control quickly but the job wasn’t finished because firefighters had to remove melted pieces of the exhaust system. Two members of the fire marshal’s office, along with several firefighters, ascended the aerial ladder to inspect the exhaust unit.
“McDonald’s was closed after the fire,” said Lt. Jason Elmore, spokesman for Chesterfield Fire and EMS.
Responding to the fire were firefighters and medical personnel from Centralia, Bensley and Dutch Gap fire stations. The Air Utility Unit was dispatched to the scene to refill crews’ air bottles. The tactical safety officer, two battalion chiefs, two fire marshal personnel and county police were there too.
Officials have not said how long the McDonald’s will be closed due to the damage.
If a kitchen cooking station fire gets into the exhaust system and onto the roof, a restaurant owner may only be first informed by a customer. By the time the fire department responds, it may be too late because of the extensive damage.
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