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West Ventura Focus

CAMARILLO : Grease Buildup Blamed in Restaurant Blaze

June 04, 1993|JULIE FIELDS

A large buildup of grease apparently fueled a fire that gutted a Camarillo restaurant after flames spread through the open attic area and engulfed the roof, investigators said Thursday.

County Fire Investigator Peter Cronk said Wednesday's fire at Rock-N-Robin's American Grill at 2123 Ventura Blvd. overpowered a safety system designed to smother flare-ups on the grill by releasing dry chemicals. The chemicals were released, but the flames still spread, Cronk said.

The blaze caused an estimated $220,000 in damage to the restaurant and the roof of an adjacent business, Initially Yours. Fire walls prevented flames from spreading farther in the shopping center, officials said.

After the fire, restaurant owner Robin Dame said the flue above the grill had been cleaned less than two weeks before. Dame could not be reached for additional comment Thursday.

The blaze was reported at 6:41 p.m. and forced the evacuation of about 80 customers and employees.

County Fire Prevention Supervisor Wayne Maynard said the design of the building's attic was also a factor in the fire. Because the attic is open, with no fire breaks, flames spread rapidly, burning the wooden joists and igniting the shake-shingle roof. The roof then collapsed and flames engulfed the restaurant's interior.

Maynard said new building codes require fire breaks to be built into attic spaces, but none were required at the time the restaurant was built.

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