Seeking to avoid having to cover the cost of a kitchen grease fire that burned down a Michigan Long John Silver’s seafood restaurant, Liberty Mutual told a federal court on Monday 5th August 2019 that the establishment had failed to regularly clean its kitchen exhaust system.
American Fire and Casualty Co., an arm of the Boston insurance giant Liberty Mutual, said in a Monday filing in Michigan federal court that the grease traps and ventilation systems at a Long John Silver’s in Flint, Michigan, were two months overdue for kitchen grease cleaning when a fire erupted there in February.
“Between the cleaning on August 9, 2018, and the fire loss on February 23, 2019, no independent qualified and insured contractor cleaned the hoods, plenums and kitchen grease removal devices to remove combustible contaminants,” the insurance company said in its filing.
The terms of the restaurant’s property insurance policy required that its kitchens be independently cleaned and inspected every quarter, according to the court filing. Long John Silver’s admitted it had failed to do so at the Flint location but nonetheless filed a claim, Liberty Mutual said.
The Feb. 23 kitchen grease fire completely destroyed the building, according to local news reports. A fire erupted at another Long John Silver’s near Kalamazoo, Michigan, in May 2018 after a grease trap caught fire and burned through a ventilation duct, local media reported.
“Safety is a matter we take very seriously at Long John Silver’s,” the company said in a statement. “Company representatives are working with the appropriate officials to investigate the fire at its Flint, Michigan, store.”
The Flint and Kalamazoo stores are two of the 76 locations listed on Long John Silver’s insurance policy, which Liberty Mutual submitted to the court. The restaurant brand’s owner is Kentucky-based LJS Partners LLC.
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