"An employee was attempting to clean the fryer in the back of the restaurant when it ignited," said Tonia Burford, the county's Food Safety Supervisor. "He extinguished the fire and they called the Copley Township Fire Department "(the township jointly operates a station with Bath Township in the Montrose business district).
Burford said the restaurant kitchen was cleaned and she gave the OK to resume frying by 6 p.m. yesterday. The restaurant continued to operate throughout the incident. Food in the kitchen was thrown out. "They have a unique situation," Burford said. "Because it's a buffet, the food in front of the restaurant was fine."
According to Burford, the restaurant has a good record of cleanliness and passed its regular inspection in April. "This was just an accident," she said. "Fryers are just tinder boxes. That's the nature of them."
Restaurant fryers have a grease vapor suppression system that sprays a dust onto the fire to put out a blaze, when heat is sufficient to trip an alarm. That didn't happen here, Burford said, or the restaurant would have been evacuated.
Copley Township Firefighters responded to the call to Golden Corral Restaurant at 79 Springside Drive at approximately 2:30 p.m. Sunday.
An employee at the restaurant reached by telephone said cleanup in the kitchen was largely completed by 5 p.m.
According to Copley Fire Chief Michael Benson, there were no injuries. Total loss is estimated around $5,000 because the fryer may need to be replaced.