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Fire service warning: keep fan filters clean

Aug 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Latest News, News

Fire fighters prepare to be lifted onto the roof of a burning building in Taranaki St in central Wellington

WELLINGTON Fire Service has stressed the importance of keeping kitchen fans clean after a blaze damaged the Curry in a Hurry Restaurant in the city last weekend.

Wellington city central senior station officer Dave Campbell has said the fire service is still investigating the fire but has found a likely cause.

“We suspect that the vents in the extractor fan have become loaded with oil and cooking by-products, and it’s provided a base for the fire,” he says.

Mr Campbell stresses that fine mesh filters in kitchen fans should be cleaned regularly, and close attention paid to cooking.

“The fire safety message here is: keep looking while you’re cooking.”

Restaurant manager Lila Prasad says maintenance schedules at the Taranaki Street restaurant had been thrown off by bereavement about a month ago.

“The new owners had only been operating the restaurant for four days, when they had a death in the family, and closed the restaurant for two weeks after that,” she says.

Nine fire appliances attended the incident which began in the restaurant’s kitchen and spread through cavities in the two-storey wooden building. There were no injuries.

Smoke and fire damage skipped the first floor flat, travelling up vents and reaching the gap between roofing iron and the ceiling below.

It required fire fighters to cut open the roof and flood the fire from above.

They donned breathing gear to enter the smoke-filled building, and used thermal imaging cameras to track the fire as it spread.

Incidents of this size, requiring a command centre appliance, occur about once a week in Wellington city according to the fire service.

The Hospitality Association says there are no national guidelines regarding the cleaning of kitchen ventilation filters.

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