Detroit Lakes Fire Department responded to a chimney fire at Roasted Pub and Eatery on Washington Avenue in downtown Detroit Lakes on Thursday, Oct. 15.

The woodfire oven, used for cooking pizzas among other menu items, ignited the soot on the inside of the chimney, according to Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Ryan Swanson. Additionally, the exhaust fan on the roof of the building, used to ventilate the smoke from the open-fire-oven, was damaged by the flames.

"That was when (the fire) really got called in because the flames were very visible coming out of the roof of the building," said Swanson.

The fan unit was done burning by the time fire units arrived, he said, but there was still a small amount of fire inside the chimney pipe. His firefighters gained access to the chimney pipe through access panels, extinguished the little fire that remained and cleaned out the chimney pipe.

Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Ryan Swanson oversees his firefighters' response to a chimney fire at Roasted in downtown Detroit Lakes. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)
Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Ryan Swanson oversees his firefighters' response to a chimney fire at Roasted in downtown Detroit Lakes. (Michael Achterling / Tribune)

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As a precaution, firefighters evacuated the tenants living above Roasted until the building was deemed safe for re-entry, which lasted about an hour.

Swanson said firefighters were called on a nearly identical chimney call last year at Roasted.

"Last year, they cleaned it and put it back together," said Swanson, "but this time, there's been some damage to the Sheetrock."

The flame-retardant wall board "did what it was supposed to do," he said.

"The Sheetrock actually burned up in one section, which saved the building from catching fire," said Swanson.

He also suggested the restaurant may want to consider a new design for their chimney system, or implement a more rigorous cleaning schedule for their chimney to prevent this kind of soot build-up in the future.

"(The firefighters) did their job," said Swanson. "They train a lot, and they are very disciplined on their stuff, and they are very good at it."

Roasted Pub and Eatery is still open for dining and bar service.