Susan Hardee Steger
The City of Fernandina Beach Fire Department responded to two commercial fires; one at Pepper’s Mexican Grill and Cantina located on Centre Street and the second at Hot Paws, a pet grooming and kennel facility on South 8th Street. According to Fire Chief Jason Higginbotham, “There were no reports of firefighter, civilian, or animal injuries.” The fires were quickly brought under control, and damage is minimal.
The fire at Pepper’s on Thursday January 10 occurred as employees were cleaning in the late evening. A cooking range was pulled from the wall accidentally disconnecting a propane gas line. Gas was ignited followed by grease around the range, and the hood. The fire suppression system associated with the hood exhaust system, activated and extinguished the flames, cutting off gas and electricity to all appliances under the hood. “It was a text book activation of an exhaust hood suppression system and it minimized the damage that could have been caused,” says Higginbotham. Pepper’s completed all inspections related to fire and life safety and opened for business on Friday evening.
Malfunctioning electrical cords associated with pet grooming equipment, was the possible culprit of an unintentional fire at Hot Paws on Friday afternoon. Business owner Octavio Martinez and his employees recognized the quick response and professionalism shown by the Fernandina Beach Fire Department. Damage was minimal.
The biggest problem for Martinez is letting customers know Hot Paws is open for business. A message to friends on Facebook reads, “We want to just let our friends know that we did have a small smoke issue in our building yesterday, but everything is back to normal and we are open and ready for our clients on Monday.”
January 12, 2013 4:04 p.m.