Lawsuit: Faulty fire suppression system led to massive blaze at Bonfire Smokin’ Taqueria

Lawsuit: Faulty fire suppression system led to massive blaze at Bonfire Smokin’ Taqueria
Bonfire Restaurant fire May 2016 (Source: Downtown Grill Facebook page)

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – A poorly installed fire suppression system is to blame for a massive fire that caused nearly $1 million dollars’ worth in damage to the Bonfire Smokin’ Taqueria restaurant, according to a newly-filed lawsuit.

The insurance company for the restaurant, Selective Way Insurance filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Ashley Inc., A&A Hood Systems and several unidentified fire suppression installation companies and individuals. The suit states that they were hired to design and install a commercial kitchen fire suppression system for a 48” Swig and Swine solid fuel smoker.

The lawsuit states that after the suppression system was installed, Ashley Inc. and A&A Hood were responsible for inspecting, cleaning and maintaining the suppression system. The companies were also responsible for inspecting and cleaning the exhaust and duct work for the smoker, according to court documents.

The lawsuit says that on May 9, 2016, Ashley Inc. and A&A Hood certified that it cleaned the exhaust system for the smoker. But it goes on to say that on May 28, 2016, a fire that originated from the smoker spread into the duct work and to other areas of the restaurant.

According to fire crews, about 35% of the fire damage took place in the kitchen area. No one was hurt in the fire.

“The fire spread from the smoker because of an accumulation of grease and combustible materials inside the duct work,” the lawsuit says. “The suppression system did not operate because it was deficient, unsafe and not compliant.”

Court documents say that the failure of the suppression system and the accumulation of grease and combustible materials caused the fire to spread and led to $835,000 in damage.

The lawsuit claims that Ashley Inc. and A&A Hood breached their duties to the restaurant and demands that the defendants pay $835,000 with interest, costs and other relief that the judge deems proper under the circumstances.

The insurance company is asking for a jury trial in the case.

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