Cigarette likely culprit in mulch fire at Papa G’s

By on August 6, 2009

by Martha Quetsch
Elburn—Papa G’s, 250 S. Main St., Elburn, was closed for a few hours after smoke from a fire outside infiltrated the restaurant July 29.

Elburn & Countryside Fire Department Assistant Chief Tate Haley said firefighters responded to a smoke alarm at the restaurant at 7:20 p.m. They evacuated customers and employees from the building.

“We got everybody out when we realized it wasn’t just a cooking fire,” Haley said.

Haley said smoke got into the restaurant from a fire that possibly was ignited by a cigarette carelessly thrown on the wood-chip landscaping material outside sometime earlier. Haley said the smoke from the smoldering mulch traveled into the restaurant through the plumbing chase, a box-like structure that encloses the building’s gutters.

“It worked its way up the chase into the ceiling,” Haley said.

Firefighters conducted a roof inspection, opened a side wall and pulled out ceiling tiles, removing the smoke and ensuring there was no fire in the building, Haley said.

The restaurant remained closed the remainder of the evening and opened later than usual on Thursday morning, so that employees could thoroughly clean the building and rid it of any smoke odor, owner George Kanakaris said.

Firefighters from Geneva, St. Charles and Sugar Grove fire departments also responded to the scene, and Maple Park and Kaneville firefighters assisted in manning the Elburn station during the event.