Grease fire at downtown restaurant sparks evacuation, road closures
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A grease fire caused minor damage to the Salt & Lime Mexican restaurant as well as an emergency evacuation of the building at 628 Lincoln Avenue around 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
Police closed the westbound lane of Lincoln Avenue as well as the 600 block of Seventh Street as Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters hooked a hose to a nearby hydrant and doused the restaurant’s kitchen with water.
Crews from West and South Routt Fire Protection districts assisted local firefighters with the incident.
It appears a grease hood in the restaurant’s kitchen caught fire Saturday afternoon, according to Deputy Fire Chief Chuck Cerasoli. The flames spread to the surrounding walls, as smoke billowed from the roof as well as the front and back entrances.
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“When we got here, there was a decent amount of smoke in the restaurant and coming out the hood,” Cerasoli said.
Firefighters stood outside and sprayed water into small cavities in the concrete walls, which allowed them to extinguish any flames inside. After they cleared the building, firefighters went up on the roof to investigate and survey the damage.
Cerasoli said the building suffered minor smoke and water damage, but firefighters contained the flames to a small area. No injuries have been reported.
“It didn’t really get very far,” he said of the fire.
Nevertheless, receiving a call about a structure fire in such a heavily trafficked place puts Cerasoli on high alert.
“It always makes us nervous being downtown like this,” he said. “The last thing we want is to lose a place like that.”
By about 3:15 p.m., emergency responders had cleared the scene and re-opened the surrounding roads. The building is under a 24-hour fire watch to ensure the restaurant is safe to enter, according to Routt County Dispatch.
Rex Brice, owner of Salt & Lime, said he is not sure when the restaurant will re-open. He appreciated the fast response from local firefighters, and was grateful the fire did not spread to the adjacent buildings.
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