A/C fire shuts down Zaxby’s

 

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — A malfunctioning alternator in the rooftop air-conditioning unit sparked a small fire and a restaurant full of smoke at Zaxby’s late Thursday morning.

The store might not be able to reopen until Friday, one employee said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

The restaurant, which celebrated its grand opening on Sept. 29, 2014 along Highway Business 74 at Clemmer Road, opened at 10:30 a.m. At 11:16 a.m., Richmond County Emergency Services dispatched personnel with the Rockingham Fire Department to the scene. Four trucks and a command SUV responded. A Richmond County Health Department employee also responded.

Upon arrival, Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler said employees already had the restaurant clear and the doors and windows open for natural ventilation. There was no smoke coming from the building, Isler said, but the air smelled “of burnt rubber.”

Isler said the air handlers on the A/C unit distributed the smoke throughout the kitchen and lobby area of the restaurant. Firefighters helped move out the fowl-smelling — er, foul-smelling — air by ventilating the area with positive pressure ventilation. That included placing a high-powered fan at the back entrance of the store, near the drive-through order location, and ensuring all doors and windows were open to maximize natural ventilation.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler, center, and Assistant Chief Dwight Mikulis, left, talk with Zaxby's workers about the incident.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Rockingham Fire Chief Harold Isler, center, and Assistant Chief David Mullis, left, talk with Zaxby’s workers about the incident.

No customers were inside the restaurant at the time the smoke began circulating through the building. As of 12:15 p.m., the store’s general manager was waiting for approval to call an electrician to the scene.

Holly Haire, supervisor of the county health department’s environmental health division, said an inspector happened to be passing Zaxby’s as firetrucks approached the restaurant. The inspector stopped and “advised that the power to the walk-in cooler be reinstated and all other food be discarded,” Haire told The Pee Dee Post in an email. “Prior to reopening, the entire facility must be cleaned, sanitized where required. They will call one of us for approval prior to reopening.”

She advised that the power to the walk in cooler be reinstated and all other food be discarded.  Prior to reopening the entire facility must be cleaned, sanitized where required.  They will call one of us for approval prior to reopening.

The store manager said shortly before the air-conditioning unit had issues, power went out. He believes the problem could have stemmed from ongoing construction up Clemmer Road from the Fountain Pointe Apartment Complex. In between the two locations, Aldi’s grocery store also was without power.

Fire fighting units began clearing the scene at about 12:10 p.m.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Filed in: Business, Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Rockingham

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