OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Breaking News Sunday morning as Oklahoma City fire crews responded to the scene of a commercial fire at Penn Square Mall evacuating everyone inside.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department told KFOR it started at the restaurant Texas De Brazil in the ventilation ductwork area over the grill. Currently there is no suspected foul play, but officials are looking into exactly how it started.
“We put crews on the roof and crews inside to try to access that ductwork and keep it from spreading outside of the ductwork to the actual structure of the building,” said Derrick Kiel, Battalion Chief, Oklahoma City Fire Department.
Derrick Kiel with the Oklahoma City Fire Department said they responded around 11:30 a.m. Sunday and crews worked quickly to keep the fire from spreading.
“It seemed like it was going to be a big operation in the initial stages of it,” said Kiel.
Kiel said they believe it started started in the ventilation ductwork above the grill/rotisserie in the restaurant.
“They have an open flame with a rotisserie where they cook. And so that’s the grill area and they have a ventilation system over that. And so, the fire started in that ventilation system somewhere, somehow,” said Kiel.
One shopper who was about to walk into the mall spotted black cloud coming from the building.
“They had all the roads blocked and you couldn’t get out, really. So, we stay for quite a while just watching it,” said Michele Orellanes, mall shopper.
After that crews were on scene assisting as shoppers and employees evacuated the mall.
“It was like chaotic. Nothing like being rampant or anything, but it was controlled. I mean, I was making sure people were safe. I mean, they’re checking the building, making sure no one was left behind. So that was good.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department said they will work in conjunction with the health department once the fire department operations are completed.
“The restaurant owners and management will work through the cleaning process and get everything back operational. There will have to be some inspections and they’ll work with the health department to get all that stuff taken care of before they can reopen for business,” said Kiel.
The mall has since reopened to all shoppers, but Texas De Brazil will stay closed for the time being as officials work to find out what happened.
“We’re going to be talking with co compliance officers as well and see if we can narrow this down to the absolute origin of the fire,” said Kiel.
Fortunately, there were no injuries, and the cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Benny Fulkerson with the Oklahoma City Fire Department said, “This fire is believed to have started in the ventilation ductwork above the grill/rotisserie in Texas de Brazil. The Health Department responded to the scene to assist the restaurant with general business matters. The loss for building and contents combined was estimated to be $150,000.”
KFOR reached out to Penn Square Mall and Texas De Brazil but it is a weekend so we will give them time to get back to us.