NIAD Note: A simple web search for grease fires in Delaware turned up the following. Why did the state turn on Mark Kirk?


Grease fire doesn't stop Ed's from serving food
May 28, 2008

Section: LOCAL
Edition: Final
Page: B3

A fire over the weekend at a Dewey Beach eatery wasn't enough to keep customers away, state fire officials said.

The fire broke out at 3:57 p.m. Saturday at Ed's Chicken and Crabs on Coastal Highway and Swedes Street.

When Rehoboth Beach and Lewes firefighters arrived, they found smokey conditions and fire in the ductwork over the grill, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Randall Lee.

The fire, which was contained to the hood system and portion of the roof, was placed under control shortly afterward.

"They brought in a portable grill and continued cooking," Lee said.

Damage was estimated at $10,000. No one was injured.

Manager Gard Shugart said the
grease fire started in the bottom of the chicken pit, and caused "between minor and major" damage.

But it wasn't enough to keep the popular eatery from cooking as usual.

"We opened up like two hours after it happened, after they got the fire out," Shugart said.

Fire investigators said
the fire originated on the kitchen grill and was caused by a cooking fire.

Contact Terri Sanginiti at 324-2771 or Contact Dan Shortridge at 856-7373 or


May 10, 2006

Sussex County: Cooking grease that caught fire in a deep fryer destroyed the concession stand at a Little League baseball stadium, state fire officials said. The stand at the Woodbridge Little League Baseball Park, on Jacobs Road in Bridgeville, caught fire at 5:32 p.m. on Monday, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Randall W. Lee. The deep fryer overheated and ignited the cooking oil, Lee said. Damage has been estimated at $10,000.



November 9, 2005

The News Journal

A New Castle County police officer jumps to avoid flaming debris thrown from a house on the 100 block of Parma Ave. on Tuesday. Police were investigating an early-morning slaying nearby when an officer saw smoke coming from this home. According to police,
a grease fire started while the residents of the home were outside watching the investigation. The fire was contained to the kitchen, and no one was hurt.


August 30, 2005

Section: Local
Page: B3


New Castle County

A fire at the Texas Roadhouse Restaurant in Bear has been ruled
accidental by the State Fire Marshal's Office. There were no injuries. The fire was reported just before noon Sunday at the restaurant on U.S. 40 near Del. 1. The Christiana Fire Company responded. Fire investigators determined the fire originated in the kitchen when grease on cooking appliances caught fire. The restaurant was not open at the time of the fire. Employees preparing to open attempted to put out the fire, according to officials. The damage was estimated at $2,500 and the restaurant must receive clearance from the Department of Public Health before it can reopen, according to the Fire Marshal's Office.


May 10, 2006

Sussex County: Cooking grease that caught fire in a deep fryer destroyed the concession stand at a Little League baseball stadium, state fire officials said. The stand at the Woodbridge Little League Baseball Park, on Jacobs Road in Bridgeville, caught fire at 5:32 p.m. on Monday, said Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Randall W. Lee. The deep fryer overheated and ignited the cooking oil, Lee said. Damage has been estimated at $10,000.


GREASE FIRE: Burger King
March 23, 2005

Section: Local
Page: B3
Kent County

grease fire caused the evacuation of a Burger King in Milford on Tuesday morning. Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Randall W. Lee said the fire occurred at 10:19 a.m. at the restaurant on U.S. 113. Damage was minor and there were no injuries, Lee said.

From staff reporter Murali Balaji


Blaze destroys Wilmington home
January 22, 2005

Section: Local
Page: B5

The News Journal

A fire Friday in Wilmington's Ninth Ward neighborhood destroyed a house and displaced one woman.

Wilmington Fire Department spokesman Capt. Michael Schaal said the blaze began shortly after 9:30 a.m. in the
kitchen of a two-story, stand-alone brick house at 632 W. 31st St.

The woman, who was not identified, escaped unharmed. Schaal said 26 firefighters responded to the blaze and saw heavy smoke and flames coming from the house. He said the fire was contained by 10:25 a.m.

The fire was limited to the
kitchen and the hallway of the house, but Schaal said smoke and heat damage affected the entire home. Investigators concluded that the fire started when the woman was cooking and a grease flare-up ignited nearby combustibles.

City officials declared the home not habitable. Schaal said the woman is staying with relatives.

October 17, 2004

Section: Local
Page: 1,2B

Precautions such as working smoke detectors save lives, state fire officials say

The News Journal

State fire officials said complacency may be to blame for the rise in fire deaths this year in Delaware.

Twelve people have died in 11 residential fires, Delaware State Fire Marshal Willard F. Preston III said. Working smoke detectors were present in four of the fatal fires, three of which were in Wilmington.

Preston said residents in the state are underestimating their risk of dying in a fire and have grown complacent about making sure their smoke detectors are in working order.

After the
Oak Orchard tragedy in 2001, in which 11 family members died - seven of them children - in a house fire in Sussex County, many people rushed out and bought smoke detectors, Preston said. Now the rush has slackened.

"Our safety message is: Working smoke detectors save lives," he said. "The battle we are facing is complacency. People do not think it can happen to them, and we do see it can happen to them."

Officials said the number of fire deaths so far this year is equal to the number of fire fatalities in the past two years combined.

Fire deaths also are on the rise nationwide.

According to the latest statistics from the National Fire Protection Association, 3,145 people died in house fires in 2003, up 17.8 percent from 2002. Nationally, someone dies because of a fire every three hours.

Fire investigators said a pot of cooking oil left unattended on the stove sparked the Oak Orchard blaze, the deadliest in the state since at least 1899, when the National Fire Prevention Association began keeping records. Although the house was equipped with two smoke detectors, neither worked because they lacked batteries, fire officials said.

"We started four years ago with the worst year of fire fatalities we ever had," Preston said. "Obviously, people were aware and that translated into four fire deaths in 2002. But the further we get away from that awful year, the more the deaths are rising."

This year, victims in four fires had working smoke detectors. In three of those cases, the victims were unable to escape when the alarm sounded because they were either infirm or elderly.

In the fourth case, the elderly victim escaped his home safely but ran back inside to fight the fire and died, Preston said.

Investigators have determined that half of the 12 fatal fires were caused by electrical failure, three by smoking and one by a child playing with a lighter.

The causes of two of the fatal fires have not been determined.

Preston said it's not enough just to have a smoke detector. The devices need to be maintained and the batteries need to be checked monthly to ensure they work. Smoke alarms most often fail because of missing, dead or disconnected batteries, experts said.

"Smoke detectors are cheap insurance," he said. "Statistics show that your chances of getting out of your home and uninjured increase when you have a working smoke detector."

Preston said working smoke detectors along with fire education, especially for children, are key to saving lives.

Three of the fire victims this year were under age 5. Five were older than 77.

In the push for prevention, Mill Creek Fire Company showed off its new state-of-the-art mobile fire-safety house last Saturday at the Fourth Annual Emergency Services Expo at the Center on the Riverfront.

Mill Creek spokesman Vince Jacono said 250 children came through the house for 20-minute fire-safety presentations. The 8-by-35-foot fire-safety education trailer was paid for with a $55,000 federal grant and through fund-raising efforts of the fire company's Ladies Auxiliary, he said.

"Each of the areas provides us an opportunity to focus on specific behaviors for children and adults to keep them safe from fire and burn injuries."


Ogletown fire displaces 20 people
January 22, 2004

Section: Local
Page: 2B

Mike Billington

A smoky fire that started in a second-floor residence left 20 Harbor Club apartment complex residents homeless Wednesday night.

About 150 firefighters from seven companies battled to bring the blaze under control. The fire - at 45 Cheswold Blvd., Ogletown - was reported at 5:56 p.m.

Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Michael G. Chionchio said the fire was
accidental, caused by grease that ignited on a kitchen stove.

"Our first unit on the scene reported seeing heavy smoke from the second and third floors of Building 45," Christiana Fire Company spokesman Hank Smith said.

There were early reports that a person was trapped inside the building, Smith said, but no one was found.

Harbor Club managers spent the night relocating the displaced families, Smith said. All of the residents of the building escaped without injury, Smith said.

"We were lucky no one got hurt," he said.

After starting on the second floor, the fire spread to the third floor and a hallway, Smith said. Firefighters battled for about 45 minutes to bring the blaze under control.

"There was extensive fire, smoke and water damage to the second and third floors," Smith said. Chionchio estimated the damage at $100,000.

One unidentified firefighter suffered a minor burn to his shoulder.

"But he stayed on the job," Smith said.

In addition to Christiana Fire Company, firefighters from Aetna Hose, Hook & Ladder in Newark, Mill Creek, Wilmington Manor, Minquas of Newport, Delaware City and Minquadale battled the blaze, Smith said.


August 6, 2000

Section: Focus
By staffers Cris Barrish, Esteban Parra

New Jersey

grease fire caused heavy damage Saturday night at the popular McGill's Barbecue restaurant near Pennsville. The fire at 136 S. Hook Road caused about $100,000 in damage to the kitchen, but the dining area received little damage, Pennsville Fire Chief Kevin Cowperthwait said. The fire began at 7:30 p.m. in the one-story building and was fueled by propane cooking tanks whose relief valves opened, he said. Nobody was injured.


April 30, 2003

By staff reporters Mike Billington and Terri Sanginiti Kent County

grease fire caused $2,500 damage to a home on Dusty Branch Lane in Harrington on Tuesday morning. Chief Deputy Fire Marshal Randall W. Lee said the blaze was reported about noon. Firefighters from Houston and Harrington responded to the fire, which began in the kitchen of the home, Lee said. Homeowner William Rosenbaum was in the residence but escaped. No firefighters were injured.


Landlord responds to accusations
Grease fires are tenant negligence

April 13, 2000

Section: News
Page: 1, 8A

Staff reporters

Wilmington landlord Adolph J. Pokorny blamed sloppy and vindictive tenants, overzealous inspectors and prosecutors, and Hurricane Floyd while defending himself in court Wednesday on charges that he defrauded renters.

Pokorny, testifying on the second day of a civil trial in Justice of the Peace Court, shrugged off allegations that he rented unsafe apartments and failed to respond to repeated complaints.

The landlord also accused state officials of trespassing when they inspected a roof at 606 West St. without asking permission.

In an unprecedented case, the state Attorney General's Office is seeking to take possession of four of Pokorny's properties while repairs are made.

Pokorny, 55, of Chadds Ford, Pa., who is known as "Jay'' and "A.J.," faces the prospect of heavy fines and bills for engineering studies of his 32 city buildings, which contain about 170 apartments.

He took notes at the defense table Tuesday and early Wednesday while about 10 former and current residents described the conditions in their units - no heat, collapsed ceilings, water leaks,
dangerous wiring, squirrels in the walls, and in one case mushrooms growing out of the bathroom floor.

But for two hours Wednesday afternoon, Pokorny said he made prompt repairs when notified and didn't know that many of the conditions existed until hearing of them this week in court.

He said city Licenses and Inspection officials conduct pre-rental inspections before he signs leases with tenants.

Under questioning by his attorney, Michael W. Modica, Pokorny said former tenant Rashida Jenkins, who lived at 604 West St., probably had roaches because she didn't clean her stovetop on a regular basis.

Pokorny disputed the prosecution contention that the stovetop was rusted.

"That's not rust.
It's burnt grease,'' Pokorny said, holding up the stovetop for Magistrate Thomas E. Cole. "In 23 years I've never seen a stove rust yet. They're not kept outside.''

He said Cora Sturgis, who testified she never had heat in almost one year as a tenant, was mistaken.

"I disagree 100 percent,'' Pokorny said, adding that Sturgis was evicted in February for not paying $1,100 in rent.

He said Lillie Lewis, who said her stove at 702 Tatnall St. caught fire, caused the problem.

"It was caused by grease,'' Pokorny said.

Several tenants at 1422 Van Buren St. and 2010 Woodlawn Ave. said they had chronic problems with leaking ceilings that caused ceiling plaster to break and fall to the floor.

Pokorny said defective roofs didn't cause the leaks, as prosecutors contended. It was severe weather conditions such as September's wind and rain from Hurricane Floyd, which he referred to as Florence.

"Florence hit and bingo,'' Pok-orny said, adding that he went to the apartment that day but wouldn't go up on the roof until the skies cleared later. "I didn't want to die that day,'' he said.

When prosecutor Richard W. Hubbard suggested the roof needed to be replaced, not patched, Pokorny said: "You think I was the only guy in town with a leak?''

As to claims of leaking and sagging ceilings at 2010 Woodlawn, he said tenants were wrong.

"Wet plaster is going to fall to the ground,'' he said. "It's not silly putty.''

Asked by the prosecutor how so many people could be wrong about the same topic, Pokorny said: "It didn't leak. I beg your pardon.''

The tenants, he said, were spurred by former tenant Robert McCreary, who testified earlier Wednesday that his apartment had leaks, poor heat and
haphazard wiring.

On Tuesday, two previous inhabitants of the apartment, Mitchell Alper and Laura Philon, voiced the same complaints.

Modica suggested that McCreary's testimony was part of a vendetta.

He said McCreary had made several complaints against Pok-orny to city and state officials, contacted the media, and regularly talks with other tenants, urging them to do the same.

"You really want to get Mr. Pokorny, don't you?" Modica asked McCreary.

"No," he replied.

Pokorny said McCeary still owed him $900 and once tried to deduct $200 for work that never was done.

He said that, after McCreary notified reporters last year about his complaints, city inspectors descended on him, singling him out for scrutiny that eventually resulted in the state's lawsuit.

Magistrate Cole, who often interrupted the questioning with his own queries, wondered why Pok-orny didn't simply replace the roofs in question.

Pokorny said his application of coating every two years is sufficient to maintain them. "The roofs are in good condition,'' he said.

Cole delayed closing arguments and his decision for several weeks. He first will review written arguments by both sides on a motion by Modica to dismiss the case. Modica's motion claims the state doesn't have legal standing in landlord-tenant cases.

Pokorny left court Wednesday in good spirits.

"I hit a home run,'' he said of his testimony. "Justice will be done.''