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Flue fire caught early at Old Mill restaurant

By Barney Lerten
Published On: Dec 09 2012 06:50:36 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 09 2012 06:54:49 PM CST
Kitchen fire shuts Bend restaurant for week

BEND, Ore. -

Workers at Greg's Grill in Bend's Old Mill District extinguished a small grease fire in the flue that broke out above its wood-fired grill Sunday morning, closing the popular restaurant for lunch, but it was open again for dinner -- though without its wood-fired menu offerings.

Firefighters were dispatched shortly after 10 a.m. to the restaurant at 395 SW Powerhouse Drive, said Bend fire Capt. Scott Wyman, adding that heavy smoke was seen coming from the chimney flue prior to firefighters arrived.

Workers used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze before the arrival of fire crews, who checked for any extension, Wyman said.

The cause was found to be grease on the wood-fired grill that ignited a creosote buildup above the filters, Wyman said.

Damage was estimated at $2,000, and was confined to the flue and the vent motor on the roof.

Back in February of 2009, an overheated ventilation fan sparked an attic and roof fire, fueled by a buildup of grease and creosote, that caused more than $200,000 damage to the restaurant, closing it for about a week.

Wyman said Deputy Fire Marshal Dan Derlacki had conducted a fire safety inspection at the restaurant in September and everything "looked great."

Area Manager John Churm said they expect to fix and have the grill back on-line Monday.

"Anybody who has those has a huge problem, only because you have a live fire," Churm said.

"We do have a little bit of a design problem in the flue above the wood-fired grill," he added. "It has this sort of L-shaped jog that collects material. When we had the other fire, they said theoretically, you could clean it every day, but it's a shelf, and debris builds and can catch fire. It's only rated to clean every quarter, but we clean it every 45 days. It's a tough thing."

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