Kitchen fire causes a stir doused by sprinkler system

by Jim Boyle
A small kitchen fire at an Elk River restaurant didn’t become a big deal after it set off a sprinkler system and was extinguished.
Elk River Fire was dispatched at 1:54 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, to a reported sprinkler system water flow alarm at the 18100 block of Carson Court Northwest.
This type of alarm indicates that the fire suppression system had activated and water was flowing. While en route, dispatch advised that there had been a small fire at the New China Dragon restaurant and the sprinkler system activated.
Elk River Police evacuated the adjacent businesses while firefighters verified that there was no active fire. Upon further investigation, it was determined that there was a grease fire in the kitchen. The kitchen’s wet chemical suppression system activated as well as two nearby sprinkler heads. Firefighters shut down the sprinkler system and ventilated the structure.
Cooking is the leading cause of fires in Minnesota and across the country.
“Without the activation of the sprinkler system and immediate fire suppression, the damage to the building would have been significant,” Elk River Fire Chief John Cunningham reported. “The sprinkler system was able to completely suppress the fire and there was no extension.”
Adjacent businesses were able to return to normal operations within a short time and the restaurant opened the next day once everything was cleaned up and the appropriate fire and health inspections were complete.