Hurricane Restaurant in Kennebunkport ME damaged by kitchen fire

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KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine – A saucepan left boiling overnight on a gas stove is said to have started a fire that engulfed part of the kitchen at Hurricane Restaurant at Dock Square on Thursday.

“He just boiled the water and heated the pot,” Kennebunkport Fire Chief John Everett said moments after firefighters cleared the scene around 9:45 a.m.

Everett gestured to the pot, which lay, partially melted, among other debris on the sidewalk in the parking lot behind the restaurant. Large charred bones, which had been being boiled for broth, could be seen inside the pot.

Kennebunkport Fire Chief John Everett, center, first saw smoke from the blaze at the Hurricane restaurant as he turned down Western Avenue on his way to work Thursday, May 26, 2022.

“Aluminum will melt at, I believe, 1,200 degrees,” Everett added.

Everett was pretty much spot on: according to Onlinemetals.comaluminum begins to melt at 1,220 degrees Fahrenheit.

Everett said there were two people inside the restaurant who called the fire department after discovering a fire had started. A firefighter – Everett, himself – was already on his way, when he saw smoke billowing from the restaurant as he turned onto Western Avenue from Cooper’s Corner on his way to work shortly after 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

Flames melted this pot during a stove fire that spread through the kitchen of the Hurricane restaurant in Kennebunkport, Maine on Thursday, May 26, 2022.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt,” Everett said.

According to Everett, the fire was relatively contained, with flames and smoke rising from the stove, sliding into the wall space behind it, climbing into the attic, and escaping from a vent above.

The Hurricane Restaurant, seen here from its rear entrance, was the scene of a kitchen fire on the morning of Thursday, May 26, 2022.

“Fortunately, since he had a path, he didn’t overheat the whole thing on the way out,” Everett said. “The fire stayed pretty much in the wall. There was not much fire damage in the attic.

The fire, while brief and contained, came at a critical time in local dining, as Memorial Day weekend approached, traditionally the start of summer and tourist season here on the Maine coast.

Everett said the exact time the fire started is not known. He said the last employee left the restaurant Wednesday evening between 10 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. He said, however, that if the flames started even earlier than they apparently did – say, at morning or so – then the whole roof could have caught fire.

The restaurant’s dining room and offices were not damaged in the incident, according to Everett. The building will, however, need a “good cleaning”, he added.

Battling the flames, firefighters had to “remove” part of the kitchen ceiling and part of the wall behind the stove, Everett said. Indeed, a hole was visible outside on one side of the restaurant.

The Kennebunk Fire Department helped with an engine at the scene, Everett said.

Assistant Code Enforcement Officer Andrew Welch will work with restaurant owner Taylor Benetti to bring the premises back into code compliance before it can reopen, according to Everett.

“There is a cleaning process that needs to be done,” he said.

Benetti and Welch could not be reached for comment Thursday.

Pictured here are bones that were charred in a kitchen fire at the Hurricane Restaurant in Kennebunkport on Thursday, May 26, 2022. The bones were boiling for broth when the stove fire broke out in the morning.

The Hurricane Restaurant is just one of many buildings located close together in historic Dock Square. Referring to that proximity, Everett spoke with relief as he described how the hurricane fire had been brief and contained.

“If we can keep it in the original building, in this neighborhood, we’re doing well,” he said.

Everett said there was “good luck” this time around, given that the employees arrived in time to catch the fire and Everett himself saw the smoke from a short distance away.

“The fact that he was still in the stages he was in was good for us,” he said.


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