Restaurant blaze put out by good neighbors

Photo courtesy of Columbus Fire Department.

Good Samaritans stopped a kitchen fire yesterday at the Tasty Express restaurant on 25th Street.

Columbus firefighters were called to the scene at about 3 p.m. with reports of flames inside the restaurant and evacuations of nearby buildings. But by the time firefighters arrived, the fire was already extinguished, says Capt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the fire department.

Prior to the firefighters arrival, Haley Jewell and Madison Woodard were at their desks across the street at Columbus Optical when they noticed thick black smoke coming from the restaurant roof. Jewell called 911 while Woodard ran across four lanes of traffic to alert neighboring businesses.

Woodard then grabbed a fire extinguisher from a neighboring nail salon and along with Pickers Paradise owner Dale Burton and his fire extinguiser, they put the fire out, Wilson says.

Firefighters say that a fire extinguishing system in the restaurant’s kitchen did not activate automatically nor did workers there manually trigger the system.

“We’re not sure if this was a training issue that led to not activating the fire suppression system, or if the system had issues.” says Fire inspector Capt. Matt Noblitt.

The store will remain closed unit the Bartholomew County Health Department inspects the restaurant.