A popular Maple Ridge pub was badly damaged by fire early Thursday.
The blaze started around 9:30 a.m. in the kitchen of the Witch of Endor Pub just after a cook had started shift.
The man was turning on equipment to prepare for the day when the deep fryer ignited. The flames spread quickly throughout the kitchen.
As thick black clouds poured out of the pub, a customer called 911 and ran to the liquor store next door to alert staff.
“When we looked out, we saw lots of smoke billowing out of the pub,” said Hayden Hebeler, who works at the Witch of Endor liquor store, which was not damaged.
The man who was in the pub’s kitchen when the fire started activated a fire suppression hood that’s installed over the deep fryer and tried to fight the flames with an extinguisher, but was unable to control them.
“The flames forced him out of the kitchen,” said fire chief Dane Spence.
The staff member did not sustain any injuries.
The back of the pub was badly damaged in the fire, but firefighters managed to hold back the flames before they spread to other areas.
Spence added the damage is still significant. The dining area was filled with smoke and soaked with water.
“There’s a lot of mechanical and electrical appliances that are heavily damaged,” he added.
The Maple Ridge Fire Department had three other calls came in while crews were at the pub. They included an electrical fire at a house on Gray Street, a kitchen fire on Hall Street and a dryer fire on 204th Street.
With resources stretched, Pitt Meadows Fire Department was called in to assist.