A fire restricted to the kitchen extract ductwork of Daphne’s, one of London’s most exclusive restaurants, demonstrates the importance of regular Fire Safety Extract Ductwork Cleaning, says Gary Nicholls, managing director of Swiftclean, one of the UK’s leading providers of expert ductwork cleaning services. “Even the finest cuisine generates deposits of fat, oil and grease in the extract ventilation system, and these must be removed on a regular basis,” warns Nicholls. “Fire Safety Extract Ductwork Cleaning is essential in any commercial building with a busy kitchen and really should be top of the maintenance menu to prevent fires like this from happening.”
As kitchen staff were preparing for the lunchtime serving on Tuesday 25th February, a fire broke out in the kitchen’s extract system just before 11am. Around 20 firefighters were required to tackle the blaze which was confined to the ductwork and which took several hours to bring under control. Daphne’s, a sister restaurant to The Ivy, is located in Chelsea. Fire crews used a cherry picker to try to control it, while neighbouring streets in Chelsea and South Kensington were cordoned off.
“Since the fire in this case was restricted to the ductwork, we would anticipate there being some questions to be answered by the Responsible Person for the building about its schedule of Fire Safety Extract Ductwork Cleaning,” says Nicholls. “It is essential to have accurate documentation for this because if you cannot demonstrate that you have done everything you can to comply, you could find yourself facing an investigation or even criminal charges, particularly if the fire creates a lot of damage or there are fatalities.”
The London Fire Brigade stated at the scene that to access the fire was difficult and it that made it take longer to get it under control. It is because of the difficulty of accessing kitchen extract ductwork that using a specialist is essential, says Swiftclean. Kitchen extract ductwork needs to be fitted with access points at regular intervals to ensure that grease deposits can be monitored and removed effectively in accordance with Section 7 of TR/19, which is recognised as the leading guidance document for controlling fire risk in kitchen extract systems. If access points are not present, Swiftclean can install them retrospectively to bring the building up to a compliant standard. Swiftclean Technicians not only carry out expert fire safety extract cleaning, they also provide documentation of the cleaning carried out in compliance with TR/19.
The company has recently launched a new ‘Make Hidden Grease Visible’ campaign in order to raise awareness of the issue of grease deposit build up in unseen areas within ductwork and hopes to see a reduction in the incidence of grease-laden extract ductwork fires as a result.