No injuries after kitchen ductwork at Casa Mexico catches fire |

No injuries after kitchen ductwork at Casa Mexico catches fire

The fire damaged roof exhaust fan.
Courtesy East Grand Fire

A fire in the kitchen ductwork at Casa Mexico caused the evacuation of the third floor of the Cooper Creek shopping center in Winter Park on Saturday.

The East Grand Fire District responded to reports of a fire on the roof around 11:40 p.m. Saturday and found smoke inside and outside the restaurant.

The smoke was coming from a small fire in the kitchen ductwork, and crews extinguished the blaze. The exhaust fan on the roof was damaged, but no cooking equipment was harmed by the flames.

However, the restaurant and the former location of Smokin’ Moe’s below it both suffered some water damage when the hood system discharged fire retardant and the sprinkler system came on.

East Grand Fire Chief Todd Holzwarth said the system worked as it was designed to and contained the fire. Crews had the sprinkler system and alarm back in service, as well as all flames out, by 1:10 a.m.

East Grand Fire crews respond to calls of fire on the roof and smoke in the building late Saturday night.
Courtesy Tyler Tomasello

Firefighters suspect grease built up in the ductwork contributed to the fire, but they are not sure what ignited it. The restaurant closes at 10 p.m.

Owner Esteban Rocha said the restaurant would remain closed for repairs and wasn’t yet sure how long that would take. He said he is just glad no one was hurt.

Staff living on the third floor of the building were evacuated, but there were no injuries related to the fire.

Grand Fire Protection District, Winter Park Fraser Police Department and Grand County EMS also responded.

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