The insurance company for The Office Dining and Spirits in St. Charles has sued a Romeoville kitchen exhaust cleaning company, arguing the company was negligent in its cleaning duties and a buildup of grease fuelled an August 2014 fire.
The lawsuit filed in late May in Kane County seeks nearly $415,000 in damages from A+ Exhaust Hood and Duct Cleaning that was paid in The Offices’ insurance claim, as well as attorney fees.
The lawsuit filed on behalf of Allied Property and Casualty Insurance Co. argues A+ Exhaust had been contracted to clean The Office’s exhaust fans and hoods and had “supposedly” performed cleaning work less than two weeks before the Aug. 27, 2014, fire.
“The fire originated at or near the stove top in the kitchen but quickly spread into the exhaust hood(s) and duct work located directly above. The grease and residue left in the exhaust hood(s) became the fuel load for the fire due to improper and negligent cleaning of the grease buildup by the defendant,” the lawsuit argues.
A message left for the owners at A+ Exhaust, 554 Anderson Drive, was not immediately returned Monday according to the Daily Herald.
Colm Headley, manager at The Office, 201 E. Main St., said The Office re-opened Oct. 8, 2014. He declined to comment on the lawsuit.
At the time of the fire, the St. Charles Fire Department estimated damage at about $125,000 and said it took about an hour to extinguish the fire, which started in the morning when The Office was closed. No injuries were reported.
Although regulatory authorities and insurance requirements impose strict standards on kitchen exhaust hoods, there is a lack of knowledge on proper maintenance and contractors sometimes fail to uphold these safety standards. Many restaurant owners are unaware of the poor workmanship, and often misleading reports, from some kitchen exhaust cleaning professionals. This poses a serious risk to the public and can happen in any venue. For more on fake cleans please click on this Shepherd Filters page and educate yourself.