Structure Fire at the Ritz



It was a quiet day.  The ambulance had run a fair amount of calls, but that was nothing out of the ordinary.  We had a inspection at one of the high rises right after lunch, but other than that, it was a pretty boring day.  Dinner consisted of BBq’d chicken chunks and some grilled asparagus.  Not the best meal we have ever had, but it did the trick.  Just as the coffee was being poured, our first alarm tones rang out.

“3203, 3212, 3214 respond to a structure fire at the Ritz Carlton Hotel” rang out over the P.A.  We all sprung up from the dinner table.  I hadn’t seen some of these guys move that fast in a long time.  As we made our way to the trucks, some more info came over the P.A.  There was a grease fire in one of the kitchens at the Ritz.  The Ritz is a gigantic hotel less than a quarter mile from the firehouse and they had a grease fire in one of the main kitchens.  We geared up and made our way to the hotel in the trucks.

Upon arriving, we were met by the head of security.  He informed us as to what was going on.  He guided us to the kitchen where the fire was.  To our surprise, no one in the kitchen was evacuating.  They were still cooking food!  What?!  He quickly instructed all the cooks to vacate the kitchen so we could do our thing.  One of the large stove tops have flames shooting out of the back of it about five feet into the air.  We attempted to extinguish the flames with an extinguisher, but had no luck.  We needed to find the gas shutoff or this thing was never going to go out.

We located the gas shutoff to the left of the stove and shut it off.  The fire was still roaring.  Huh?  There must have been another valve somewhere.  Within minutes, a hotel employee made his was into the kitchen and informed us that the stove was dual fed.  So our suspicions were accurate.  We had to find that other valve.  Luckily, we were able to find it quickly and shut it off.  We doused the remaining flames with the extinguisher again and this time the fire remained out.  By this time, we had pretty much filled the entire kitchen with that nasty extinguisher dust.  It was pretty nasty and a huge mess.  Oh well, not our problem.  We were able to save the kitchen and thousands of dollars in expensive cooking equipment.

So it was not the biggest of fires, but a good example of some of the things that we have to deal with during emergency situations.   It was a great last shift before my vacation next week.  I’m taking the family to Mercer Island, WA for some much needed R&R.  I will gladly give you all the details when I get back into town.

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