Monroe, North Carolina
Monroe firefighters responded to a possible structure fire at JB’s Midway Barbeque at 723 N. Charlotte Avenue at approximately 11:35 pm on Tuesday, June 2, 2009. Monroe Police Sergeant Chris Helms spotted smoke inside the building while on routine patrol and alerted the fire department. First arriving fire department units found smoke inside the building. Firefighters forced entry into the building and quickly located and extinguished a small smoldering fire in a storage cabinet in the restaurant.
Members of the Department’s Fire Marshal’s Division determined the fire was caused by spontaneous heating from stored cotton rags containing vegetable oil and animal fats. Damage to the structure was limited to $2000 dollars. The restaurant was able to open for business today.
Jim says “We are open for business.”
The fire started in this stainless steel cabinet
I spoke with the owner Jim Benton today about the incident. If you’ve been around Monroe for awhile, everyone knows Jim and he was his usual jovial self today. “If the fire had gone a few minutes longer, this building would be a shell right now” Jim said. He was grateful for the Monroe Police and Fire Dept. He got the call around 11:30 last night and when he arrived the fire trucks were on the scene and had extinguished the small fire. There was not a lot of damage and Jim considers what happened as spontaneous combustion of the rags that were stored inside a stainless steel cabinet.
When you walk into JB’s you can smell that there was some smoke in the building but not much more than the normal BBQ aroma that has been bringing in customers forever. Jim was taking everything in stride and acknowledged to me that he was certainly blessed to still have his business.
Citizens with questions about proper storage of soiled or recently laundered food service linens are encouraged to contact the Monroe Fire Department. This is the second fire involving this type of ignition source in Monroe since April of 2008.
Please contact the Monroe Fire Department with questions or for additional information.
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