Some restaurant owners and managers may wonder why the U.S. government requires them to periodically clean their exhaust systems. This blog post aims to answer that question with an unfortunate incident in Tulsa a few days ago.
On Monday morning, a pizza restaurant in the southern part of the city caught fire. As of this writing, the cause of the fire is yet to be determined, but pay attention to this key passage in the story:
The flames spread halfway down the building but were mainly contained to the roof and attic.
Some people may ask how a fire can start in the attic of a building, but anyone who knows how restaurant kitchens are designed understands why this can happen. Restaurant exhaust systems pull a lot of grease from the stove upwards into the vent hood, the exhaust ducts and grease fan in the top of the building. Like any grease, it’s flammable. If enough of it builds up, it can be a severe fire hazard. Hence, the federal requirement for periodic exhaust system cleaning.
In this particular case, nobody was injured, but the damage wasn’t contained to the restaurant itself. Because the restaurant is part of a strip center, neighboring offices and stores were filled with smoke from the fire.
(To be clear, we’re not saying that the pizza restaurant in question had fallen behind on its cleaning schedule. We have no way of knowing this for certain, and we’re not about to speculate. We’re simply saying that restaurant exhaust systems can present a fire hazard.)
If you are a restaurant owner, don’t let this happen to you! Give us a call today and we’ll give you an estimate on cleaning your exhaust system.