Cooking oil in a pan of fried chicken wings overheated and started a small fire at D’ Bocas Restaurant on Independence Square North in Port of Spain.
While no flames were visible outside the building, smoke was seen coming out of the balcony doors of the restaurant, which is on the second storey of a building next to Nicholas Court.
Fire Sub-Station Officer Diane Noel said the fire began on the stove in the restaurant’s kitchen around 9:50 am.
She said the owner attempted to extinguish the fire before exiting the building.
She confirmed fire officers were able to contain the fire but she said it was too early to estimate the damage to the kitchen since fire officers were still navigating smoke inside.
Restaurant owner and manager, Wayne Agard, said the chef just started working there two weeks ago.
“We used three extinguishers to try to put it out before the fire service arrived,” Agard said. “This is the first time this has happened in 35 years of operation.”
He said the restaurant has fire insurance, though it was too soon to quantify the value of the damage.
Workers at City Gym on the top floor of the building, as well as staff at the pharmacy and Digicel outlet on the ground floor, also evacuated and locked up their businesses as a precautionary measure.
Agard said despite preparing for significant clean-up and repairs at the restaurant, he was not angry at the chef.
“Things happen in life,” he said casually. “You just have to move on from it.”