Maria’s restaurant evacuated after small fire |

Maria’s restaurant evacuated after small fire

A small fire burned partially through a kitchen wall at noon at Maria’s restaurant in downtown Grass Valley, causing the restaurant to be evacuated.

Firefighters from the Grass Valley and Nevada County Consolidated fire departments responded to the scene after an employee reported she saw smoke coming from an outside westward-facing wall.

Grass Valley Fire Chief Hank Weston said that the fire was due to an error made when the kitchen was constructed. One of the industrial-sized stoves the restaurant uses to prepare meals was directly against an exterior wall instead of 10 inches away, which is the requirement, he said.

Every time the stove was used, he said, nails in the stainless steel siding heated wooden beams inside the wall, causing it to turn into charcoal. He said it appeared to have been happening since reconstruction of the kitchen was finished one month ago and could have caused a severe fire.

“They were lucky that it was during business hours,” Weston said, estimating the damage done to the building to be about $2,500.

While the incident interrupted the lunch hour, Weston said the restaurant would be back open for dinner.

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