The ACT Coroner’s Court has finished taking evidence for the inquiry into a fire which tragically roared through a heritage listed building last year.
The court rose this afternoon after hearing five days of evidence regarding the New Acton Pavillion fire. Apparently to have started in the kitchen duct.
The involved parties have several weeks to present written submissions to the Chief Coroner before further findings are delivered.
The blaze destroyed multiple separate entities on June 23, amongst the damaged was the Flint Restaurant, Parlour Wine Room as well as the upstairs office space. Bicicletta Restaurant and the Diamant Hotel were also victims in the vicious fire.
The court heard the fire started in the Kitchen duct work attached to Flints pizza oven.
The kitchen has previously taken precautionary measures and had a spray filter designed to cool hot embers installed which is a key fire safeguard however it was unfortunately inactive at the time of the blaze.
It has been shown that a lack of cleaning access panels in the kitchen hood/ canopy duct work has also become a central issue with witnesses testifying panels marked on the original design were not actually present.
Past and present experience has proven to us that improper cleaning of ducts will lead to extreme grease build up which will only add fuel to a fire should one ignite.
In this instance, a commercial kitchen duct cleaner who worked on the ducts at the New Acton building said he pulled out one or two garbage bags of charcoal and fat. He said that he cleaned 75% of the duct work thoroughly but the remainder was problematic. This is not unusual and we see it far to often. The kitchen duct cleaner and his staff said the size of the panels made it hard for them to see into the hood and they had to use poles and scraping tools to finish the job.
The duct cleaner agreed that it was possible combustible material, fat and grease build up was left accumulated in the duct work. He did however believe all the thick charred stuff was off the duct work.
Depending on the nature of the restaurant, frequency of cooking and what is being cooked, it will not take long for the grease to build back up so it is extremely important to make sure your ducts are cleaned properly or you use a product that stops up to 98% of airborne grease from entering your hood like Shepherd Filters disposable kitchen grease filters.