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Last updated 12:34AM ET
December 16, 2017
KSUT Regional
KSUT Regional
Main Avenue Fire Investigation Cites Improper Vent Installation
(2008-03-20)
(ksut) - HOST LEAD: Investigators have determined an improperly installed exhaust hood may in part, be to blame for the February 22nd Main Avenue fire that destroyed three Durango businesses.
KSUT's Victor Locke reports.

VICTOR: Durango Fire and Rescue Fire Marshall Tom Kaufman says his investigation confirms the fire started in exhaust ductwork above the a deep fat fryer and wood oven in Season's Rotisserie.
The fire spread from the ductwork through a common attic, ultimately destroying Seasons, Half Price Tees, and Les Rendevous Restaurant.
Kaufman says the exhaust hood and ductwork, installed in 1994, was not according to building codes.
KAUFMAN: IT HAS TO BE A CERTAIN DISTANCE AWAY FROM A COMBUSTIBLE WALL, UNLESS IT'S PROTECTED, EITHER WE PROTECT THE WALL BY A ONE HOUR RATING OR WE ACTUALLY RATE THE DUCTWORK BY WRAPPING IT WITH A FIREPROOF MATERIAL. AND IN THIS CASE WE DIDN'T FIND ANY PROTECTION ON THE WALL. WE FOUND THE CLEARANCES TO THE COMBUSTIBLE WALL FAR TOO CLOSE AND THERE WAS NO WRAPPING ON THE DUCTWORK ITSELF.
Kaufman says the ventwork was six inches from a combustible wall when it should have been 18 inches away.
They also uncovered holes in the ductwork at seams that were improperly welded, which may have helped the fire spread.
Kaufman says the exhaust system's fire suppression system did activate but was inadequate to put out the flames.
An investigation into the cause of an explosion that blew the roof off Les Rendevous is continuing and could take months to complete.
And for the first time, there are dollar estimates on damage from the blaze.
Kaufman says losses to the three businesses and buildings have been estimated at just under 4-point-5 million dollars.
KAUFMAN: AND THOSE CERTAINLY AREN'T EXACT FIGURES. THOSE WILL BE TOTALLED UP AT THE END WHEN THE INSURANCE COMPANIES ALL WORK OUT WHAT THEIR CLIENTS ARE GOING TO BE PAID OUT.
On the up side, while neighboring buildings housing several businesses including Termar Galleries and The Marketplace did receive some damage, they were not destroyed.
Kaufman says the value of those structures alone has been estimated at 6-million dollars.
Nine firefighters were hurt battling the blaze.
All have been treated and released.
From KSUT, Four Corners Public Radio, I'm Victor Locke.
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