The Most Common Causes Of Restaurant Fires And How To Prevent Them

a professional chef cooking in a restaurant kitchen

There are so many things that can go wrong in a restaurant. Dishes can break, appliances can malfunction, and kitchen fires are always a possibility. These risks are especially dangerous for establishments that serve food on-site because of the risk of flammable oils or grease catching fire.

Fires in restaurants also pose serious risks to customers, employees, and the building itself. The destruction from a fire is often extensive and costly to repair. In fact, human error is the most common cause of restaurant fires, not natural causes.

Unless you have worked as a chef before, you might not know that there are so many ways fires can start in a kitchen. As with any business venture, it’s important to be aware of all potential risks and take precautions against them happening if at all possible.

Keep reading to discover the most common causes of fires in restaurants and how you can prevent them from ever happening.

Cooking Oil and Full Grease Traps

The most common cause of fires in restaurants is grease building up in grease traps and then igniting. This can often happen when a restaurant is closed for a period of time and then starts up again but doesn’t clean out the grease trap.

After shutting down the kitchen for a while, the grease will build up in the traps. Grease traps are a necessary part of any commercial kitchen, but they can be very dangerous if not cleaned out regularly.

Grease traps should have a cleaning schedule that is adhered to as closely as possible. If grease traps are not cleaned regularly, they often fill up with grease and overflow into the kitchen.

This grease can then be very easy to ignite and cause a fire. The proper way to clean a grease trap is by pumping the grease out of it and disposing of it properly. It is never a good idea to go by the "out of sight, out of mind" policy when it comes to grease traps.

Equipment Failure

Equipment failure is also a common cause of fires in restaurants. This can happen when a piece of equipment is broken or malfunctions while it is in use.

There are a few pieces of equipment that are most likely to break and cause a fire. Most commonly, this includes your fryers and ovens. Every restaurant should have a maintenance schedule in which each piece of equipment is inspected and maintained on a regular basis.

The fryers and ovens should be inspected at least once a week. If you are using a commercial kitchen for the first time, you might not know what to be on the lookout for in terms of equipment failures.

There are some common signs of equipment malfunctions that you can watch out for, including:

  • Excessive heat
  • Unusual noises
  • Unusual smells
  • Broken or cracked pieces

Gas Leaks

Some restaurants use a lot of gas appliances, so this is something to be extra vigilant about in those types of establishments. Gas leaks can happen when the gas line is broken or becomes loose.

These can also occur when there is a leak in the gas tank, which often happens with large delivery trucks. If there is a gas leak in your restaurant, you must deal with it immediately.

If there is a gas leak in an indoor kitchen, it can cause asphyxiation. In an outdoor kitchen, it can ignite easily and cause a fire. If you smell gas in your restaurant, you should shut off the appliance that is causing the leak immediately. If you smell gas outside your restaurant, you should report it to the authorities immediately.

You can use the smell of gas as a warning sign that there is a potential hazard in your restaurant. If you smell gas, it is important to notify your staff and guests that there is a potential hazard in the building.

Improper Storage

There are many different chemicals and items that are used in a commercial kitchen that need to be maintained at a certain temperature. It’s important to keep these items in proper storage.

It’s common for restaurants to store flammable materials in the kitchen. This is a big mistake and can cause a fire very easily.

Chemicals should be stored in a place where they are not easily broken. This can prevent a chemical from spilling and causing a fire on the ground.

Flammable materials should also be stored in a place that is outside the kitchen, away from any appliances, and has proper ventilation.

Faulty Electrical Wiring

Faulty wiring is another common cause of fires in restaurants. Many restaurants use a lot of electrical appliances, so it’s important to keep an eye on your wiring. It is especially important to keep an eye on your wiring if you use old wiring.

You should always make sure your wiring is up to code and has been properly installed. It’s important to catch faulty wiring early, as it can give off sparks that quickly turn into a fire.

If you notice any signs of faulty wiring, you should call a professional electrician as soon as possible. It’s also important to check your wiring regularly to make sure that it is in good condition and has no signs of wear and tear.

Things You Can Do To Prevent a Commercial Kitchen Fire

kitchen stove blue flame reflection

As you can see, there are many causes of fires in restaurants. Thankfully, there are also many ways to prevent them from happening. Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of fires in your restaurant:

  • Create a fire prevention plan: Make sure you have a fire prevention plan in place. This plan should include all the ways in which you will reduce the risk of fire, how you will respond if one breaks out, and the plan of action if the fire ever gets out of control.
  • Install fire extinguishers: You should have fire extinguishers in all public areas of your restaurant, and each kitchen should have at least one fire extinguisher. You should also make sure that your employees know how to properly use them.
  • Keep your appliances in good working order: Take care of your appliances and keep them in good working order to reduce the risk of a fire. This includes having a grease trap cleaning service take care of the trap on a regular basis.

Contact Gold Standard Fire To Protect Your Restaurant From Fires

If you need help protecting your restaurant from fires, contact Gold Standard Fire Protection today. Our team can inspect your restaurant and offer helpful suggestions on how to avoid a kitchen fire.

We are a fire protection service that has been taking care of the fire protection needs of many restaurants in San Diego for decades. Ensuring safety and offering the highest level of care for all of your fire protection needs is our goal.

To learn more about the various services we offer, you can contact us at (858) 531-8473 or email us at [email protected]. You can also schedule an appointment with us for a free consultation.


A fire in a restaurant can be a dangerous, terrifying, and costly incident. Thankfully, there are many ways to prevent fires from happening.

If you make sure that your equipment is in good working condition, you have proper electrical wiring, and your employees know how to use all equipment properly, you can greatly reduce the risk of a fire in your restaurant.

How protected are you?

Call or text now and
schedule a free quote.

✆ 858-531-8473

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Are You Protected?

 Your kitchen is always at risk for potential grease fires.  Water can actually spread these fires making it worse. Hot flames, hot equipment, electrical connections, cooking oils, and cleaning chemicals make for the perfect recipe for a disastrous fire.

Do not let this happen to your investment!
Call or text today to schedule a free quote.

✆ 858-531-8473

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