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Taylors Lakes, VIC 3038

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Kitchen Fires on the News


Workers evacuated after fire breaks out in CBD restaurant


A build up of grease has been revealed as the cause of a restaurant blaze in Melbourne's CBD that forced office workers to evacuate on Monday, firefighters say.

Passers-by raised the alarm shortly after the fire broke out in the Crazy Wing restaurant, near the corner of Bourke and Russell streets, about 11.15am.

Several workers were inside the restaurant when the fire started, Melbourne Fire Brigade said.

Flames and a large plume of smoke could be seen coming from the roof of the building at 177 Russell Street before 50 firefighters arrived at the scene.

Fire investigators on Monday night determined the cause of the fire was a build-up of grease in the restaurant's exhaust flue.

The MFB urged the community "to regularly clean and maintain the whole flue, not just the filter".

"Keep your cooking area free from built up grease, dust and oil," the brigade said on Twitter.

MFB Commander Paul Eckhold said the ceiling of the two storey building collapsed as fire crews wearing breathing apparatuses worked for nearly an hour to gain control of the blaze.

"Crews evacuated buildings on either side to ensure the safety of people in the area," he said.

"At this stage, there are no reports of injuries."

Hub Express owner, Fee Zreik, said the fire was burning for quite some time before firefighters brought it under control.

"There was so much smoke," she said.

The MFB said the two-storey building was "well alight" and risked spreading to neighbouring buildings, which were evacuated.

There were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters believe the blaze started in the restaurant's kitchen and are investigating the cause.

Russell Street between Little Bourke and Bourke Street remains closed and people are being urged to avoid the area. The northbound lane is expected to stay closed on Monday afternoon.


Laksa King Saved From Fire by Neighbours

Curry Cafe to the rescue. It helps when you’ve worked on oil rigs for 10 years. (28/02/2018)

A fire broke out at Flemington restaurant Laksa King on Wednesday at about 11am.

An oil fire started in the kitchen during preparation for lunch service, filling the restaurant with black smoke. The restaurant had to be evacuated.

With Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) still on its way, Michael Vass and Rakesh Ramachandran, co-owners of neighbouring restaurant Curry Café, along with local pawnbroker Grant McKay from Get Smart Loans Co., attended to the blaze.

Vass and Ramachandran became aware of the fire when the smell of smoke made its way into Curry Café’s kitchen.

“Lots of acrid smoke, plastic-burning smell, we got outside and everyone’s running out, there’s billowing smoke coming out of the doors and windows,” Vass tells Broadsheet.

Scared the fire would spread to other businesses on the strip, the pair grabbed fire extinguishers from their own kitchen before running into Laksa King to put out the fire.

“We were waiting for the fire brigade for five or 10 minutes, but they didn’t come,” says Vass. He estimates the MFB arrived within half an hour. On Thursday morning MFB contacted Broadsheet to confirm the fire was first reported at 11.20am. Trucks were on the scene at 11.25am and the fire was declared under control at 11.27am. (Broadsheet had reached out to MFB for comment on Wednesday but did not receive a response in time for publication.)

You should never enter a burning building under any circumstances. Ramachandran, however, was uniquely qualified. He worked on offshore oil rigs for over a decade, during which time he was trained to fight fires.

“He was loving it,” says Vass.

The pair was concerned that if the fire reached exhausts above the kitchen hobs it could set any build-up of oil alight, with the fire then spreading to the roof.

“That’s why we sprang into action," says Vass. "If that happens it’s all over,”

The pair extinguished the fire by midday, before any serious damage occurred.

Vass and Ramachandran had only recently moved into the neighbourhood; their second Curry Café (the first is in Northcote) is on Racecourse Road.

It’s been an unusually bad week for restaurant and cafe fires in and around Melbourne. On Sunday, Mornington Peninsula winery Ten Minutes by Tractor lost over $500,00 of wine in a storeroom fire. And last Monday, beloved Middle Park cafe Mart 130 was severely damaged by a fire started from a faulty power supply.


Melbourne CBD fire causes large smoke plume

A POPULAR laneway in Melbourne’s CBD was evacuated this afternoon after a cafe caught fire, sending staff fleeing out the front. (12/07/2017)

Degraves St has been cleared out as emergency services respond to the blaze, believed to be at Cafe Andiamo.

Jasmine Tink, a barista at the near cafe The Quarter, said staff had jumped over counters to escape the fumes.

“It started off really faint and no one noticed because the street often smells like smoke,” she said.

“Then about 2pm the smoke got really thick really quickly and people started rushing out and jumping over counters.

MFB fire crews had trouble reaching the cafe due to traffic problems.

Sprinklers in the cafe were activated.

MFB said the fire appears to have started in the kitchen and spread through the flue and ducting.

Smoke and water have damaged half of the cafe.

MFB Firefighters in breathing apparatus extinguished the fire and used a thermal imaging camera to check for fire extension in the walls and ceilings.

Flinders Lane will remain closed for some time.

A Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokesman said firefighters had brought the blaze under control within 15 minutes but a significant amount of smoke lingered.

People were advised to avoid the area.

Ambulance Victoria was not called.


Firefighters called to fire at Woolshed Pub in Docklands


Asbestos was found in the roof structure after hundreds were evacuated earlier this afternoon.

Earlier flames spread to the roof, despite efforts from firefighters using an aerial hose to cool the area.

Fire fighters were called to the Harbour Esplanade venue to extinguish the blaze — which sent thick smoke billowing across the inner city just before 3pm.

Two managers are being treated for smoke inhalation.

The location of the building on central pier made access by the fire brigade difficult.

Crews worked to ensure the blaze didn’t spread to other restaurants and shops in the precinct.

Witnesses say the evacuation by staff was swift and professional.

It is believed the fire started in a kitchen ventilation system at the venue, opposite Etihad Stadium and AFL House, just before 3pm.

MFB assistant chief fire officer Darren McQuade said asbestos had been found in the building’s roof structure.

“Precautions have been implemented to minimise contamination,” he said.

All occupants have been accounted for and only two people have been treated by ambulance for minor smoke inhalation.

About 200 staff and patrons were evacuated.

There are 15 fire trucks, 50 fire fighters and one fire boat on scene.

A fire boat was providing support from the water.

Assistant chief fire officer Darren McQuade said people should stay clear of the area.

“We’ve sent an advice notice out to the community asking them to keep clear of the area, saying there is a fire in the area and also that there is smoke in the area and they shouldn’t be concerned, that the fire fighters are working hard to extinguish the flames,” he said.


Iconic Stokehouse restaurant burns down


A crane removes the roof of the still-smouldering Stokehouse.

The owners of St Kilda restaurant Stokehouse have vowed to rebuild the iconic eatery after it was destroyed by fire.

On Saturday afternoon, the building was demolished after a blaze ripped through the two-storey building on Friday night, leaving staff and guests just minutes to escape.

There were no reports of injuries.

MFB Senior Officer Rod East said the fire originated in the kitchen from fat build-up in the flue over the griddle and rotisserie.

"It started on the ground floor. It would have been burning between the two different layers and the two fire crews that could have been trapped in there were lucky to get out as the fire erupted through the floor/ceiling between the two levels."

MFB Commander Bruce Pickthall said fire investigators were expected to work through the night with demolition crews.

"The structure collapsed inwards and then the iron roof collapsed on top of that.

"It's created encased pockets of fire that our hose streams just can't get to."

It's too dangerous to actually put a firefighter in the structure to attack it directly."

A 30-tonne excavator is slowly pulling apart a tin roof above the still-smouldering building.

The fire forced a couple due to have their wedding reception at the Jacka Boulevard restaurant on Saturday night to find a last-minute alternative.

Port Phillip Council mayor Amanda Stevens said the building was being demolished for safety reasons.

It was ‘‘tragic’’ to lose a building of such heritage significance, she said.

Owners Frank and Sharon Van Haandel vowed to rebuild the restaurant, which was due to celebrate its 25th anniversary this year.

"We are totally devastated that our beloved Stokehouse was lost in last night's fire, however, extremely relieved that nobody was injured throughout the event," a statement said.

They praised their staff for evacuating diners so speedily and thanked fire and emergency services and the wider community for "the incredible generosity, kind words of support and love".

"We plan to regroup and rebuild the icon that was due to celebrate its 25th birthday this year."

No other buildings on the foreshore have been damaged.

Dave Kersley who was due to marry his fiancee Liz at the restaurant on Saturday, arrived early in the morning to see the destruction for himself.

‘‘We felt we did the right thing and went to bed nice and early last night so there were no incidents but obviously, there were," he said outside the venue.

"We’ll deal with it.’’

A CBD venue came to the rescue, offering to host the couple’s reception following a garden ceremony in the early evening.

A Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokesman said firefighters were called to the scene at 11.12 pm Friday night.

The fire is said to have caused at least $1 million worth of damage.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the fire was not suspicious.

The fire quickly took hold of the ground and first floors, with the building’s open-space plan and wooden materials allowing the fire to spread quickly.

More than 200 diners and staff were forced to evacuate as flames engulfed the popular restaurant.

It took three hours to get the fire under control, with structural issues including the collapse of the roof and strong onshore winds hampering fire-fighter efforts at one point.

As news broke of the blaze on Friday evening, hundreds of people took to social media to express their shock at the loss of one of Melbourne’s most iconic eateries.

Singer and television presenter Natalie Bassingthwaighte married husband Cameron McGlinchey at the restaurant in 2011.

Others have tweeted fond memories of their weddings.
The official Stokehouse Twitter account sent a message about 5.30am on Saturday: "Huge thanks to our brilliant staff for evacuating guests safely tonight & thank you for the MSGs of love & support re our beloved Stokehouse".

A Stokehouse waitress, who asked not be named, said the lights went off just after 11pm.

Staff and guests were then told to evacuate the restaurant.

"We were hoping everything would be fine and saved, but then we saw flames coming out of the building," she said.

The blaze drew a crowd on Friday night as locals watched the eatery become engulfed.

"It’s like a festival out here," witness Melle Hatzissavas said.

"A Melbourne icon is burning down and it’s brought a lot of people together. People are kicking soccer balls... It’s bizarre and surreal to be here, it’s watching history happen."

The Van Haandels' extensive business interests include Stokehouse Q in Brisbane, Fatto at Hamer Hall, Mr Tulk at the State Library of Victoria and Comme.

In September, it was announced they would takeover running the fine dining restaurant at the Sydney Opera House.

Bennelong by Stokehouse is due to open in May.

Cr Stephens congratulated Stokehouse management for acting quickly to evacuate staff and patrons in such ‘‘extreme and frightening circumstances’’.

"We’d like to extend our gratitude to the firefighters who are still working to extinguish the fire, ensure the building is safe and our community is protected as well as the police who assisted with the evacuation and safety,’’ she said.

The restaurant site is on crown land and any discussion about its future will need to be negotiated with the Napthine Government, council and community.