Firefighters Warn of Dangers from Uncleaned Extraction Systems After 2 Restaurant Fires

« Back to blog home25 Jul 2017 by Indepth Hygiene

Central London roads were temporarily cordoned off and motorists warned to avoid an area near London’s iconic Marble Arch last Saturday morning (16/7/17) as firefighters battled flames beneath plumes of thick black smoke billowing from a restaurant’s extract ductwork system.

6 fire engines and 35 firefighters and officers tackled the blaze which started inside the basement/ground floor restaurant’s extraction system which vented above the six-storey building on the junction of Connaught Street and Edgware Road. London Fire Brigade reported that the ductwork in the basement, ground and first floor had been completely destroyed by the fire, whilst approximately 10% of the open plan restaurant and external ducting was also damaged. Flames spread through the external ducting to an adjacent block of flats which were also reportedly damaged, and residential properties immediately above Ranoush Juice were also affected, but whilst a number of people had to be evacuated from nearby buildings thankfully no injuries have been reported.

An LFB spokesperson stated “Restaurant and take-away owners should always make sure their extraction systems are kept clean as a build-up of fat and grease within the filters can lead to a fire”.

With reports that this is the 5th major fire emergency in the capital since the tragic Grenfell Tower blaze, LFB notably also had to tackle a 2nd London restaurant fire that same morning, once again believed to have been caused by a build-up of uncleaned oil or grease in a restaurant’s extraction system.

4 fire engines and 21 firefighters and officers were called to the similar restaurant fire in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. Approximately 30 people were evacuated from the restaurant but again thankfully there were no reports of any injuries.

Restaurant extraction systems frequently run from basement or ground floor kitchens through or up the back of several floors of residential properties above before exhausting at roof level, particularly in towns or cities where buildings are often closely packed, which places not just the business itself but all occupants and residents of a multi-floored building as well as adjacent properties at risk in the event of fire. It is extremely fortunate that nobody was apparently hurt in either of these latest restaurant extraction system fires. All restaurants and indeed any building with catering facilities must ensure grease, dust and debris is regularly and professionally cleaned to remove what Fire Authorities have described as “their greatest potential fire risk in buildings with catering facilities