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Kitchen fire closes South Granville McDonald’s

June 3, 2015


Every few months a fire alarm briefly and unnecessarily clears the McDonald’s in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue. Tuesday evening at 8:30 p.m. there was no fire bell, just the insistent voice of the very alarmed night manager who came around the counter from the the kitchen to tell patrons that they needed to leave the restaurant immediately!

There was smoke, she declared.

From my vantage point in the lobby, I couldn’t see any smoke coming out of the kitchen but I could definitely smell what I identified as burning electrical insulation.

Outside, I spoke to the staff. The one working the grill had been the first to smell something burning and had alerted the manager. He told me that he thought a motor of one of the many kitchen machines had caught fire but he didn’t know which one.

A fast response as usual but to a real fire for a change


Where’s the fire bub?

By 8:45 p.m. Fire and Rescue was on the scene with three ladder trucks.

A number of firefighters, equipped with personal oxygen respirators, entered the kitchen through a side door off the alley, carrying axes, fire extinguishers, and in one instance, a hand-held gas detector.

Within 15 minutes the firefighter were all packing up. They had set up an industrial-strength fan by the side door to clear the air in the kitchen and waiting for that to do its job seemed to be the only thing keeping them from leaving.

Trying to clear the air.

Trying to clear the air.

While I was standing by my locked-up bicycle and trailer watching the firefighters, another homeless binner rode up on his bicycle. This was Ivan. And this was the time he generally showed up to have a coffee and muffin and do some reading before he went to bed.

He gave me a quizzical look and I explained the situation to him. He was very disappointed.

“I want my muffin!” he declared.

This was a few minutes after 9 p.m. By this time, both front doors of the restaurant were propped open to help air out the kitchen and the night manager was standing in the lobby with one of the firefighters.

I went in and asked the manager if the restaurant was going to reopen that evening. It was the firefighter who answered matter-of-factly that it wouldn’t.

I passed the bad news along to Ivan and we both went our separate ways but not before Ivan expressed his hope that the McDonald’s would at least open normally Wednesday morning.

Normally meant 5 a.m — less than eight hours away.

I remember how, a few years ago, a small fire forced a 24-hour convenience store on Broadway Avenue at Ontario Street to close for several days (probably to scrub everything) and also to throw out a ridiculous amount of perfectly good packaged food, all because of a bit of smoke.

So Wednesday morning I’ll swing by the McDonald’s in the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue at my usual time — just after 8 a.m. — but I won’t be surprised if the restaurant is closed. or if my morning cup of coffee is instead an Americano from the Waves Coffee House at West Broadway and Spruce Street. Click the images to enlarge them.

Update: The McDonald’s was open this morning (Wednesday, June 3), contrary to my expectation. There was still a slight note of burnt wire insulation in the air, mingling with the smell of coffee and deep-fried hash browns but otherwise it was business as usual. Staff told me that the problem had been one particular overhead unit in the kitchen. The burnt wire smell had first been noticed during the Tuesday lunch rush but no one could figure out where it was coming from.

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