Fire Sprinkler System Credited for Saving Area Restaurant in Early Morning Fire
OCEAN CITY, Md. – (June 18, 2019): An Ocean City restaurant was saved from serious fire damage due to their fire sprinkler system and the actions of hotel staff early this morning.
The Ocean City Fire Department (OCFD) was dispatched to a fire alarm activation for a fire sprinkler waterflow at the Castle in the Sand Hotel, shortly after 4 a.m. this morning. Minutes later, while fire department personnel were responding, emergency dispatchers received an additional call from hotel staff advising they had investigated the fire alarm activation and could see fire burning in the basement restaurant of the hotel.
When firefighters arrived, they found the fire alarm system sounding and hotel occupants evacuating. Hotel staff directed the OCFD to the basement, where firefighters found a single fire sprinkler had discharged and extinguished the fire, limiting damage to a small area in the rear of the restaurant.
“A properly functioning fire sprinkler system saved lives and property this morning at the Castle in the Sand,” commented Fire Marshal David Hartley. “The hotel’s diligence in servicing and maintaining their fire protection systems ensured that everything worked properly, which limited damage and ensured the safe evacuation of hotel occupants.”
Hotel occupants returned to their rooms within 30 minutes of the call and the Beach House Restaurant is expected to return to normal business following a brief cleanup.
Investigators from the Fire Marshal’s Office have ruled the fire accidental, related to spontaneous ignition of laundered, cooking oil-soaked cleaning rags. “This phenomenon is unfortunately a common occurrence in commercial kitchens,” Chief Hartley continued. “We often see fires that begin due to cleaning towels that have soaked up vegetable-based cooking oils and spontaneously ignite, even after being properly washed and dried.”
The OCFD encourages employees to minimize the likelihood of a spontaneous ignition incident by ensuring dryer cooling/tumbling cycles are utilized, towels are spread out to minimize pile size, and by storing clean and dirty towels in non-combustible hampers or other containers.
For further questions or fire prevention tips, please contact the Fire Marshal’s Office at 410-289-8780.