Fire at La Espanola Restaurant
By Robin Scott
On Thursday, October 1st, the Dalhart Fire Department was dispatched to a fire located within the La Espanola Restaurant at the corner of Highway 87 South and 16th Street. The call rang out at approximately 10:15 a.m. and firefighters sped to the scene.
Firefighters responded with four firefighting vehicles from the fire department and one ambulance. Several members of the volunteer fire department as well as Fire Chief Curtis Brown quickly assessed the nature of the fire. Fire Chief Brown noted, “The fire originated in the kitchen and was contained to a cooking vat filled with cooking grease.” The grease was hot enough to cause smoke to billow out of the restaurant and force the employees outside into the fresh air. No injuries were reported.
Volunteer firefighter Glenn “Packman” Pack stated, “They’ll have to close to get all of this cleaned up. It did a lot of damage to their equipment.” The fire itself was quickly contained and the firefighters were left to deal with the smoke.
Firefighter David “Pineapple” Young stated that he had been out at the cemetery mowing when he got the call. Every member of the fire department, with the exception of Fire Chief Curtis Brown, are volunteers. Each firefighter stops their daily duties at their regular jobs to respond to the call for help. Several of the firefighters at Thursday’s fire had been out until early that morning at the scene of a motor vehicle fatality that occurred on Highway 54 West at the intersection of Ranch Road 694.
No fire distinguishing substances were required to put out the fire at the restaurant. Fire Chief Brown noted, “We did positive ventilation on the fire.” He further noted that the restaurant will likely remain closed for the remainder of the day. He also commented, “People often panic in a kitchen fire and try to put it out with water, but water could cause the fire to spread.” Methods for putting out a grease fire in a kitchen include automatic fire suppression, which smothers the fire. Turning off the heat and smothering the fire is the first line of defense in a kitchen grease fire, according the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
Earlier this year two home fires lead Fire Chief Brown to comment on the need for fire safety tips, especially in the kitchen and when cooking. Several fire safety articles advised area residents on the importance of preventative measures to consider beforehand and during cooking. Forty percent of home fires begin in the kitchen, according to the NFPA.
For more information on fire safety, visit www.nfpa.org.