Employees and firefighters were locked out of a Maple Ridge A&W when a fire alarm went off on Friday morning.
A customer who was picking up breakfast at the drive through of the Lougheed Hwy and 119 Ave location, said he had to halt his order short when employees told him there was a small fire in the deep fryer area of the kitchen.
Gene Cordoni said the staff informed him they could no longer deliver their order to the window, as they had to evacuate the premises because of the fire.
While waiting for first responders to show up, he said he sparked up a conversation with the staff who had evacuated the building.
“I thought, OK, there’s a fire but you’re all out here,” he said.
“Did nobody make an attempt to put the fire out?”
Curious, Cordoni took a look around the building.
“There were three of them standing outside, and I’m looking through all the windows and I said, ‘You know what, maybe go back inside because I don’t see any fire or smoke any longer,” he said, “But then they told me we can’t go back inside because we don’t have the code to get back through the door.”
While respectful of the protocol, Cordoni said it was odd none of the staff had a code, considering it might have made the difference between saving a million dollar business and it going up in flames.
First responders were quick to arrive on scene however, and accessed the building after acquiring the codes from a manager or owner.
“They were there within five minutes,” Cordoni said, “I was surprised how fast they were, so kudos to them.”
When driving by again a couple hours later, Cordoni pointed out the restaurant was open again.
Maple Ridge fire chief, Howard Exner, said the instance was a simple mistake.
“There was no fire found on our arrival,” he said.
“The fire alarm system and commercial kitchen fire suppression system were found to be in a normal state.”
Exner added the staff mistakenly locked the doors on exiting the building but firefighters were able to gain access with no issue.