One employee suffered minor injuries when they attempted to extinguish a HVAC fire on Oct. 31 at the Fall Creek Steak and Catfish House in Branson. 

Branson Fire Chief Ted Martin said two engines, a ladder truck and a battalion chief were dispatched at approximately 12:30 p.m. on report of smoke in the building and a possible fire at the local restaurant. 

“The first (arriving) engine company was actually out by Pointe Royal when the call came out, so they were really close at that time,” Martin said. “They arrived on scene and reported smoke showing from the eaves of the second floor right along the roof line. They made entry and they found the fire was in a mechanical room on the second floor where all the HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air Conditioning) units are at.”

Martin said that while crews were able to contain the fire to that room, smoke had traveled throughout the entire structure. 

“So once the fire was out, which the guys did a great job of getting it contained and stopped, they turned their efforts towards using their ventilation fans, they’re big fans that we have, to eject the smoke so we could reduce the smoke damage in the building.”

As the restaurant was open for business at the time of the fire, Martin said employees did a great job of getting all the guests out of the building quickly once they identified that there was a building fire.

“One employee did attempt to use a portable fire extinguisher and he was checked out by TCAD Paramedics on scene and was later transported with what appeared to be smoke inhalation,” Martin said. “A minor injury. No other injuries on the fire ground.”

Martin said that once the fire was out, their goal became helping the business owner get back in operation again.

“So we’ve contacted the health department to make sure everything’s addressed there and to help coach them through a plan to get everything clean and sanitized and ready to operate as a restaurant again,” said Martin. “So we left the property with the owner having, I hope, good expectations of how they can get back in business as quickly as possible.”

Martin said fire investigators discovered that the fire originated in a furnace and spread into some duct work, but no exact cause of the fire was able to be determined.  

The fire was upgraded to a second alarm, meaning additional fire personnel responded, including a fire marshal and chief officer, according to a press release. Mutual aid was also provided by the Branson Police Department, the Taney County Ambulance District, Missouri American Water and the Taney County Health Department. The Fall Creek Steak and Catfish House caught fire once before and was deemed a total loss back in Aug. of 2006, according to Branson Tri-Lakes News Archives.

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