Restaurant blaze at AT&T Park impels evacuation

A small grease fire at AT&T Park on Wednesday forced a partial evacuation but did not affect preparations for the Giants-Mets afternoon game, officials said.

The fire broke out at about 9:20 a.m. in the Acme Chophouse restaurant in AT&T Park. A dispatcher said it was initially reported as a cloud of smoke from the third floor, and that a single alarm response declared it under control at 9:53 a.m.

John Epperheimer, the restaurant's general manager, said the fire erupted in the flue above the restaurant's wood-fired grill. “It happened before the restaurant was open and before the ballpark was open, which is good,” he said. Park and restaurant employees in the area were evacuated briefly while the Fire Department secured the scene.

“The response time of the San Francisco Fire Department was excellent. They were here within three minutes of the alarm going off,” Epperheimer said. “I called 911, but they were on the scene by the time I hung up the phone.”

Fire spokesman Ken Smith said grease fires such as Wednesday's are not uncommon. “What they need to do is go in and clean that grease buildup out of there,” before they can reopen, he said. Epperheimer said the restaurant's bar would be open for Wednesday's game but not its kitchen or dining room.

Giants' public affairs director Shana Daum said the incident did not hinder the preparations for the game or delay itsstart time. “Those of us in the front office got to go outside and enjoy this nice weather for an hour,” she said, but otherwise the park was unaffected.

amartin@examiner.com

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