Swiftclean MD Gary Nicholls today joined calls from the London Fire Brigade for restaurant owners and managers to ensure that kitchen extract ductwork and ventilation systems are regularly and thoroughly cleaned, as a restaurant fire in Lisle Street, close to Leicester Square, was ‘seen for miles around’. “This perfectly illustrates the need to remove oil, fat and grease deposits in commercial kitchen extract ductwork on a regular basis,” he said. “This requires specialist cleaning and different skills from those needed to keep a kitchen otherwise spotless. The ductwork isn’t seen, but if not kept scrupulously clean, harbours the potential for a fire which poses a danger to life and limb and can represent thousands of pounds worth of damage plus a critical interruption of business to a restaurant.”
Four appliances and 20 fire fighters tackled the blaze, which according to London Fire Brigade involved the restaurant’s ventilation system. Station Manager Charlie Pugsley, who was at the scene said: “Businesses should make sure that their ventilation system is kept clean, as build-up of fat and grease within extract filters can lead to a fire.” Two other London catering establishments also suffered fires due to grease build up in their extract ductwork on the same day – 8th July 2013 – a restaurant in Boundary Road, St John’s Wood and a takeaway in Bartholomew Street, Southwark.
Failure to keep ductwork clean can also render the building’s insurance null and void, meaning that there may not be a pay out in the event of the fire, warns Swiftclean. Regular expert cleaning, backed by informative certification can provide valuable protection and comprise critical evidence in the event of a claim. The company, which provides expert kitchen extract ductwork cleaning services, is highly experienced and its senior management is often called to provide expert evidence in legal cases involving fire damage in extract systems.