Burger King blaze among busy night for Dover Fire Department

DOVER — An overnight grease fire caused approximately $3,000 damage to a Burger King in the city’s southside, but it could have been much worse.

According to fire officials, a suppression system activated to douse the blaze before it spread further than the kitchen area.

Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Scott Bullock said the fire — reported at 2:17 a.m. — was contained to the kitchen and duct work, and caused by residual grease from a cooking device. The unit was left after hours and Mr. Bullock said “I’m not sure if that’s standard procedure.”

An attempt to reach the restaurant at 1600 S. Dupont Highway near Webbs Lane and the Rodney Village neighborhood late Monday morning was unsuccessful. The business is typically open from 6 a.m. to midnight. Mr. Bullock said he received a late morning call from Burger King inquiring when the electricity could be turned back on.

Earlier in the morning, Camden-Wyoming Volunteer Fire Company crews were called to the scene, assisted by the Dover Fire Department and an aerial ladder truck.

The cost of cleanup was a large part of the estimated damage, Mr. Bullock said, since a chemical agent was discharged to stop the fire.

Suppression system nozzles are required above every commercial business grill where grease vapor is present during cooking. The system is inspected every six months.

“That’s why it’s there,” Mr. Bullock said of the suppression system that activated and likely lessened the fire’s spread.

Mr. Bullock said investigation into the blaze was complete. No injuries were reported.

It was a busy 25-hour stretch for the Dover FD, which also responded to three automatic fire alarm activations and a second-floor bathroom fire at Manchester Square Apartments at 66 Stevenson Drive at 8:15 p.m. The first call arrived at 1:04 a.m. Sunday with the last being the Burger King fire.

The alarms were activated Sunday at 1:04 a.m., 4:23 a.m. and 5:23 p.m., two at Delaware State University and another at Towne Point Apartments at 820 Carvel Drive.

The Manchester Square incident displaced a family of six, who were then assisted by the Red Cross for housing needs.

Dover Fire Chief Ronald W. Rhodes Sr. said a large amount of calls received annually are false alarms, and typically take 30 to 40 minutes from units leaving the station to return. Crews must wait at the scene until a respondent deactivates the alarm, he said.

“It keeps us busy and it’s very random when it happens,” Mr. Rhodes said. “We may run 10 calls one day and then not have any for a day and a half.”

As Dover crews headed to the Manchester Square call, smoke was reported within the unit and an upgraded “working” alarm required more personnel and equipment, officials said.

“Upon arrival, the first engine secured a water source from a nearby hydrant and investigated within the residence,” according to Deputy Chief Michael O’Connor Jr.

“Crews found an exhaust fan in the second-floor bathroom on fire. The fire was quickly knocked down and the situation was rendered under control.”

Four hospitalized in camper fire

ELLENDALE — Four person were taken to the hospital following a Sunday morning camper fire in the 10000 block of Greentop Road, the Delaware State Fire Marshal’s office.

According to Assistant State Fire Marshal Michael G. Chionchio in a news release, the Ellendale Fire Company was called to the scene just before 8 a.m. Four occupants that fled from the burning camper required medical treatment, he said.

Deputy fire marshals were called to the scene and searching for the fire’s origin and cause, Mr. Chionchio said. One camper trailer sustained heavy fire damage. A family of four were sleeping inside the camper prior to the discovery of the fire, he said.

A 29-year-old male sustained smoke inhalation. A 31-year-old female suffered second-degree burns and also sustained smoke inhalation. A 2-year-old female and 1-year-old male was medically evaluated. All victims were taken to the Bayhealth Sussex Campus Emergency Room.

The children were treated and released to relatives, Mr. Chionchio said. The adult male and adult female are being transferred to the Crozer Chester Medical Center for further treatment. Both adults were in stable condition.

Fire damage was estimated at $2,500. There were no smoke alarms, according to the Fire Marshal’s office.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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