Some people may wonder how a restaurant fire can start on the roof rather than in the kitchen. Here’s a quick explanation.
Obviously, any kitchen can present a fire risk. You’re dealing with lots of heat, open flames (especially if you have a gas stove), and plenty of flammable substances. But while a home kitchen is only in use occasionally, a restaurant kitchen can be in use 12 or more hours per day, presenting lots of opportunities for danger.
Because these kitchens get so much use, they have much more extensive ventilation systems than residential kitchens, including much larger vent hoods and bigger ducts. They also have big fans in the ceiling to pull fumes upward and out through vents in the roof. These fans also end up pulling up small molecules of grease from the kitchen, which collect on the fan over time. Like pretty much any grease, it’s highly flammable, meaning those grease fans can become fire hazards if they’re not frequently cleaned.
As a Houston-area restaurant exhaust system cleaning provider, we see a lot of fans in need of proper cleaning. Here’s a before and after picture to give you some idea of how dirty these fans can get.
As you can tell from the picture on the left, these fans can get really covered with grease, making them fire hazards. This is why federal law mandates that restaurant exhaust systems get cleaned regularly as a fire prevention measure. Restaurants that don’t have this work done regularly can be in violation of the law, and can also put their fire insurance at risk.
So there you have it: tremendous levels of use and lots of flammable substances in a relatively small area.