Fire rips through restaurant kitchen
October 7, 2008
A fire ripped through a Main Street restaurant’s kitchen Wednesday evening, slightly injuring one person and forcing an extended shutdown of the eatery.
Firefighters tore through the roof on the downhill side of Bistro 412 to put down the blaze, which started at a little before 5:30 p.m. The firefighters responded to the Main Street and Swede Alley sides of the building, 412 Main St., shutting a stretch of Main Street to traffic as they parked fire trucks on the street and lugged the hoses toward the building.
They scaled ladders to the roof, with at least one of the firefighters using a chainsaw to cut into the building. A crowd watched from Main Street as the firefighters worked.
Investigators said a restaurant worker cleaning a stove popped off a gas line. The fire ignited before the worker could shut off the line. Stephen McComb, who owns the restaurant and the building, said the fire likely caused about $10,000 in damage. He said, though, it may cost $100,000 to repair the damage and put in upgrades that City Hall officials will require while the restaurant is repaired. McComb said he plans to upgrade the electrical system and redo stairs leading to the restaurant’s bar.
"It’s the slow time of the year . . . It happened at the right time of the year," McComb said, estimating the restaurant will reopen within a month.
A reopening by early November would be timed just before the expected beginning of the ski season. Business in Park City typically pushes upward starting by mid-November. McComb said he will keep the restaurant’s workers on staff through the repairs.
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"We’re going to try to get open as soon as we can," he said.
Adam Ross, the restaurant’s head chef, said he was cleaning a gas line between an oven and a wall just before the fire started. He said the line popped off the oven, and the gas ignited immediately. Ross said he doused the initial flames with a fire extinguisher, but the fire spread quickly.
"It went down, dropped, hit the oven and ignited," he said about the gas line, describing that the gas line hit the back of the oven.
Ross suffered a slight burn on his right arm.
Three or four restaurant workers were inside when the fire started. The restaurant was open, but there were no customers inside.
Bob Zanetti, the assistant chief of the Park City Fire District, said flames extended from the area of the stove up a nearby wall. The firefighters discovered the flames had breached the ceiling above the stove, requiring them to cut into the building.
The firefighters put down the flames quickly after arriving and spent 45 minutes extinguishing hotspots.
Police officers diverted traffic from the stretch of Main Street outside the restaurant, and onlookers watched from various points along Main Street. Police Chief Wade Carpenter and Fire Chief Kelly Gee responded with the firefighters and the officers. Park City’s chief building official, Ron Ivie, also arrived quickly.
Ivie, who serves as the city’s fire investigator, said he does not recall a fire in Park City with similar circumstances.
"The odds of that happening are remote," he said about the gas line being popped off. "It’s just kind of a freak thing."