It will be at least a few days before one of Sydney’s most celebrated restaurants, Rockpool Bar & Grill can reopen after a fire tore through the kitchen ducting on Wednesday night, 2nd April 2014.
Neil Perry, speaking to Fairfax Media from Hong Kong, said fire crews are assessing the damage in the kitchen exhaust system and kitchen ducting units and this will determine when the restaurant can open again.
He said firefighters are assessing whether a cooking accident started the blaze, which spread to the overhead kitchen ducting and threatened to engulf the multi-storey building on Hunter Street. Or whether the fire started in the motor of the kitchen exhaust unit.
‘‘We will not know until tonight or tomorrow how it started,’’ he said.
Fire and Rescue NSW superintendent Paul Johnstone said last night about 100 patrons and 50 staff had already evacuated the building when firefighters arrived about 8.30pm. Rockpool estimates the number of people evacuated was closer to 200.
“The fire was in an open kitchen area, and it was spreading into the kitchen ducting. Being a multi-storey building, the crews went up to the 11th storey and had to cut through the kitchen ducting there to extinguish the fire and make sure it didn’t spread, which is always a big danger,” Johnstone said.
He said there were seven fire trucks and 28 firefighters involved in battling the blaze, and crews remained at the scene for about three hours.
No one was injured in the blaze.
Perry praised his staff for doing a fantastic job of evacuating diners. ‘‘They had fire training only two weeks ago. I just wish I was there for them now,’’ he said.
There were no initial estimates on the cost of the damage, although Superintendent Johnstone said it would be “quite expensive”.
Operating a restaurant is a ‘‘day-by-day proposition’’ financially said Perry who will be hoping to reopen Rockpool Bar & Grill as soon as he can.
Spice Temple, another Perry-owned restaurant, under Rockpool, will re-open for dinner as usual on Thursday night.
A fire within the kitchen ducting can ignite combustible materials outside of the duct, spreading the fire in the building.
Systems that are not periodically inspected, maintained or cleaned will be subject to a build-up of oil, grease and other materials within the kitchen ducting, filters, gutters, and on the internal surfaces of the hood. Systems that are not properly maintained present a higher risk of a significant fire event.
As you look to arrange your next kitchen ducting clean, contact Shepherd Filters for a no-obligation assessment on how to prevent up to 98% of kitchen grease from building up and extend the length of time required between duct cleaning!