Kitchen fire damages Utica Foodmart

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A grease fire at Utica Foodmart on Friday morning will likely close the store for several weeks, according to fire officials.

Dan Matthews, Utica Volunteer Fire Department chief, said a deep fryer in the store’s kitchen caught fire about 9 a.m. causing damage to the kitchen ceiling and equipment, as well as smoke damage to the rest of the store.

“I imagine it will be a couple weeks before they could open again,” Matthews said. There will have to be a lot of cleaning done and probably some repairs in the kitchen.”

Misty Weikel, a cook at the food mart, said the fire started shortly after she and her manager started preparing lunch. The store’s fryer malfunctioned and heated the oil until it started smoking.

“It just started getting too hot and filled up the store with smoke,” Weikel said. “We turned it off and even cut off the power.”

Weikel and the store's manager covered up the fryer at one point and thought the fire was out, but it quickly flared up again.

The fire department responded quickly, and not just because the station is across the street from the store on Kentucky 140. Matthews said the department had responded to a grass fire on U.S. 431 earlier in the morning and a truck had stopped at the food mart for gas.

Utica was supported by Daviess County Fire Department and Moseleyville Volunteer Fire Department. The Daviess County department was also in the area after responding to the grass fire.

Matthews said the fire was quickly put out, but probably escalated more than it should have because a dry chemical extinguisher on the hood above the fryer did not activate correctly.

Jacob Dick, 270-228-2837, jdick@messenger-inquirer.com,Twitter: @jdickjournalism

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