Restaurant fryer explodes

Fire chief issues warning about controlled burns

BROOKINGS – The Brookings Fire Department was called to Pizza Hut on Sunday afternoon for a fryer explosion, Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann said.

The explosion was reported after 4 p.m. Sunday, he said.

He added the crews were only on the scene less than 15 minutes, from 4:14 to 4:26 p.m.

“It appears there was no fire,” Hartmann said, but added the building was evacuated and there was a gas smell.

Even though there was no fire, Hartmann said it is always a good idea to call 911 when there’s an explosion.

“Any time there’s an explosion, you should call 911 and get out of the structure, which it happened here. Fortunately, there was no fire, but quite often something of that magnitude does lead to a fire start,” Hartmann said.

Details about property damage were not available.

Controlled burns

Hartmann had some advice about outdoor fires, too.

“We’re starting to green up nice,” which helps make fire danger lower, but we still have the wind, he reminded people.

Fire safety starts before you ever start the fire.

“Check what the weather condition is going to be like – not only the day you plan to burn, but the day after, or a couple days after, depending on what you’re burning,” Hartmann said.

Different substances burn in different ways, so you have to be aware of the time you’ll need for a safe burn.

“If you’re burning a large tree pile, that can burn for several days so you really have to look out into the future for what’s predicted to try to maintain safety of that fire,” he said.

Letting people know you’ll be burning beforehand helps keep everyone safe – and you out of trouble.

“Any time you are burning out in the county, you need to call dispatch and notify them at 605-692-2113. They’ll notify the appropriate fire department or agency that covers that area so they’re aware of it,” Hartmann said.

“One of the questions I typically get asked is ‘Why do I have to call it in?’ A lot of it has to do with false alarms; somebody drives by, sees a fire, calls it in. We respond ‘well, it’s just a controlled burn,’” Hartmann said.

“Really alleviates having to get a department called out for those types of things. So it’s prudent to actually have that done,” Hartmann said.

He added that if a burn ban is needed, it would be issued by Brookings County commissioners.