Wednesday, November 28, 2007

No injuries in 2 fire incidents

Fire official recommends checking appliances for hazards

Express Staff Writer

Firefighters tend to the sub-floor above the deli in Atkinsons? Market in Ketchum on Wednesday, Nov. 21, after a large oven heated the floor to combustion. The incident closed the store for a little more than an hour. Photo by David N. Seelig

A pair of Wednesday, Nov. 21, incidents kept firefighters in Ketchum scrambling and customers waiting the day before Thanksgiving.

Notably, Atkinsons' Market was closed for an hour or more in the midst of the Thanksgiving rush while firefighters attended to a smoking sub-floor beneath a massive, industrial-size roasting oven.

That call, which came in at 11:56 a.m., came directly on the heels of an incident at Nails by Sherine on North Main Street at 11:17 a.m. That call was in response to a small explosion and resulting small fire.

The nail salon fire occurred when a maintenance worker was applying some spray texture, "which is very flammable," Ketchum Fire Department Assistant Chief Robbie Engelhart said.

"It basically found an ignition source and flashed on him," Engelhart said.

No one was injured, and the maintenance worker quickly doused the resulting flames with a fire extinguisher.

Minutes later, both Ketchum and Sun Valley fire departments were paged to Atkinsons' Market to respond to a report of smoke emanating from the ceiling in the deli area of the store.

"We were just picking up, and the engines from the other call had just made it back to the station," Engelhart said.

Ketchum and Sun Valley firefighters were on scene at 11:58 a.m., and fire crews from Wood River Fire & Rescue and the Hailey Fire Department were called in for backup. There were about 50 firefighters in total.

Engelhart said firefighters discovered embers and smoke in the plywood sub-floor above the deli and below the massive roasting oven.

"I don't think it was even open flame, but the sub-flooring was smoking and dropping embers," he said. "They had to work it from below, just kind of peel it away, cutting away, and extinguishing it for the most part with a watering can."

Engelhart said the sub-floor had completely burned away in an 18-inch area.

The cause of the smoke and embers was the roasting oven, which Engelhart said had its vents clogged with grease and droppings from the oven, "which basically caused the outer metal shield to overheat."

The Giacobbi Square complex was evacuated for a little more than an hour while firefighters tended to the situation.

Though both incidents were contained, Engelhart stressed that this is a good time of year for people to evaluate their appliances and chimneys for fire hazards.

"With any appliance, you want to maintain them," he said. "With your furnace, you want to make sure your filters are cleaned. They should be serviced annually. Have your chimney cleaned. Make sure your curtains aren't hanging on baseboard heaters."

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