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Bum Steer: Fire-Prevention Inspectors Start Fire in Tyler Restaurant

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Here’s one way to definitively learn whether or not a restaurant’s fire-prevention system is in need of a few tweaks–start an actual fire during routine maintenance of the system.

That’s apparently what happened earlier this week at Tyler’s On the Border restaurant, when an electric relay in the kitchen-hood exhaust fan failed to trigger. As KLTV Channel 7 reported:

Inspectors doing maintenance checks to prevent kitchen fires started a fire over a grill. 

“They were doing their normal maintenance on the exhaust fan system. That is the reason the relay was thrown in the first place,” said Tony Gumber, the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Tyler Fire Department. “It wasn’t something they did wrong, it was just in the normal process of inspection.”

The smoky, grease-laden duct combustion triggered two alarms, with responses from eight fire department units, but Gumber told KLTV that the workers also put the fire out. 

“Those guys that were here doing the maintenance work on the system are the people that used the fire extinguishers on the grill, and are the ones that pulled the emergency pull on the extinguishing system,” said Gumber.

The fire marshal says while the grill was on, the exhaust fan failed to reopen during the inspection.

“The heat was still rising like heat does, and it built up to where contents in the exhaust system itself reached a combustible temperature and that caused the fire,” said Gumber. 

“I would think this is something that would happen occasionally just because the system is being tested for any weak points,” said Gumber. 

Guess it’s true what everybody says: You can’t make fire-prevention systems without starting a few fires.

Now: how does condom-testing work?

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