The fire that forced the evacuation of customers and staff at TGI Fridays on Saturday night is being blamed on equipment failure, specifically an exhaust hood in the kitchen, according to Fire Marshal Tim Smith.
Smith broke the evening’s event down like this:
TGI Fridays Restaurant has a drop ceiling and is required by law to have a sprinkler system.
Around 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 21 while bar customers were watching the Major League baseball games and others were having a meal in the dining room an alarm went off, alerting the Orange Volunteer Fire Department of a problem.
The manager and staff immediately got busy and made sure everyone was safely evacuated from the building.
The firefighters assembled at their respective firehouses and arrived at the restaurant within about 6 minutes.
The fire was contained to the drop ceiling and roof portion of the building and a sprinkler head activated, holding the fire in check.
The flames began to burn a section of the roof above the kitchen and firefighters had to cut a hole in the roof to get access to and extinguish the fire.
Restaurant Employees sat on the guardrail near the Boston Post Road and First Selectman Jim Zeoli viewed the scene while speaking to residents and crew members near Station 2.
Orange and Woodbridge Volunteer Fire Departments and West Haven’s West Shore had firefighters and equipment at the fire. Milford FD provided coverage for the town until the OVFD cleared the scene.
Smith said the building sustained smoke and water damage, but there was no fire within the main floor of the restaurant. “Just the kitchen to the roof, it’s damaged but not a total loss,” Smith said.
With his investigation completed, Smith turned the building over to the restaurant owners so they can begin their renovations.
TGI Fridays will be closed for a while, but at this point, no one can say just how long.