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Ferry Building blaze triggers evacuation

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Afternoon fire breaks out in kitchen of The Slanted Door; all in complex ordered outside

A noontime fire at a stylish restaurant in the Ferry Building forced the evacuation of the building, as the lunchtime crowd flocked to the outdoor venues on the 70-plus degree day.

At about 12:20 p.m. a kitchen fire broke out at The Slanted Door, forcing shops and restaurants to be closed down, according to a restaurant spokeswoman. The fire, which was contained to the flue of one stove, sent smoke bellowing into downtown streets.

The Fire Department arrived at 12:34 p.m. and immediately located the fire in a kitchen shaft, Fire Department spokeswoman Mindy Talmadge said.

“It wasn’t anything very serious because the smoke was actually coming out of the vent, which would be an appropriate place to be coming out of,” Talmadge said.

The offices and all the shops in the building were closed until 1:15 p.m., as crowds of shoppers and employees lined up outside the main entrance awaiting word that it was safe to go back inside.

“There was no smoke in the building but it was coming out of the roof,” said Denise Adams, who was shopping on the bottom floor of the building when she was forced to evacuate.

All the restaurants and shops immediately reopened for business except for The Slanted Door, which remained closed through the day. It is scheduled to reopen this morning if the Fire Department approves of the cleanup, according to Slanted Door spokeswoman Faith Wheeler.

“It seems like it wasn’t a huge fire,” she said. “It seemed in part to me that [owner] Charles [Phan] himself crawled into the shaft and put the fire out himself and burned himself, but not too bad.”

The restaurant probably lost 300 customers with an average bill of $25 per person, according to Wheeler.


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