A Jan. 21 fire that shut down a Streetsboro restaurant has been ruled to have been accidental, according to the Streetsboro Fire Department.
During a follow-up investigation at the Happy Moose Bar and Grill at 9436 Route 14 on Tuesday, construction crews systematically removed sections of kitchen wall, behind which the fire had been determined to be. This allowed fire investigators to fully examine the scope of the damage and fire patterns. After nearby gas and electric lines were eliminated as causes of the fire, it was determined that the cause was a process called pyrolysis.
It is believed that over time, heat from the kitchen’s flat-top grill caused plywood within the wall to dry out and decompose. On the morning of the fire, heat from the grill caused the plywood to further decompose to the point where it became easily combustible.
Once the fire ignited, it traveled up and along an area between two metal wall studs and as it got into an open area under the roof line, it went toward an operating HVAC unit. This provided the fire with additional oxygen.
The fire department says that an independent fire investigator hired by the restaurant’s insurance company has agreed with these conclusions and the investigation is completed.
The fire department received a notification of a fire alarm going off at the restaurant, on the corner of Market Square Drive, at 10:26 a.m. and then the restaurant’s owner called to report smelling smoke, but with no flames seen. Firefighters began arriving within a couple of minutes to find heavy smoke in the kitchen and at least two sprinkler heads had activated. The restaurant was not yet opened and the owner and employees evacuated before firefighters arrived. No injuries were reported.
The fire was brought under control by 10:52 a.m., but it was estimated that it, along with heavy smoke and water throughout the restaurant, caused damages totaling more than $250,000.
According to a post on the Happy Moose’s Facebook page, the restaurant is closed while restoration work is done and updates will be posted when available.
Reporter Jeff Saunders can be reached at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Record-Courier: Happy Moose fire in Streetsboro found to be accidental