Restaurant kitchen fire closes businesses in Pickering plaza

PICKERING — A fire that started in the kitchen of a Pickering restaurant has closed all businesses in the plaza at Krosno Boulevard and Liverpool Road.

Two people working at the Refuel Kitchen restaurant were treated at hospital and released, said Pickering chief fire prevention officer Stephen Fowlds.

He and Fire Chief John Hagg were on scene at the plaza at 713 Krosno Blvd. Monday morning, updating several owners of plaza businesses, who gathered in the parking lot.

The fire, which broke out just after 4 p.m. Sunday., has left heavy smoke damage in the plaza, said Fowlds.

“Unfortunately, there’s no quick answer,” he told businesses owners who are wondering when they can reopen. Electrical power and gas are shut off in the plaza, and any businesses serving food will need a health inspection to resume operations, he said. “A lot of insurance companies are involved, and they won’t be quick.”

Inventory in plaza businesses will be damaged from smoke, he said, and a lot of remediation work is ahead. The fire also left structural damage to the roof of the plaza.

He advised business owners to contact their own insurance companies, and discouraged them from entering the premises.

“If you don’t have to breathe the residue of the smoke, don’t. It’s not good for you.”

Pickering fire inspectors will be working to determine the exact cause of the fire, which caused an estimated $1.5 million in damages according to Hagg.

Hairdresser Tony Lanni, who operates Riviera Coiffure in the plaza, had booked clients for a Grade 8 graduation Monday.

“I’m in the middle of nowhere right now,” he said, as he stood by his truck in the parking lot. “I’ll see if I can get a place temporarily.” A few customers had come by the plaza the night before, he said.

“I don’t know what they’re going to do. The problem is, they won’t let me in to get my tools or anything.”

Tina Manikis, who owns Dogs Town grooming, said no animals were affected by the fire, and no customers were in her business when the fire broke out.

“My customers are going to be upset,” she said. “We book a week in advance.”

The plaza is also home to businesses that include the Liverpool Pharmacy, Square Boy Pizza, the Bay Ridges Market, Subway, the Royal Barber Shop, and Zeera By The Bay Indian cuisine restaurant.

“It’s traumatic; when you have a fire on one side, it affects so many people,” said Fowlds. “Hopefully we’ll have some news for (business owners) soon.”

Fowlds said he’d like the community to know that Pickering has had several restaurant fires recently and the fire department is in the process of inspecting all restaurants in the city. It’s the responsibility of restaurant owners to ensure all fire equipment is serviced, he said.

Effective June 28, the laws for fire code violations are changing, with potential fines as high as $1.5 million, said Fowlds.

“The fire code doesn’t differentiate in the severity of fires.”

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