OTIS, OR (KPTV) – What caused a restaurant, known as a popular place to stop and eat while heading to the Oregon Coast, to go up in flames has been determined by the Oregon State Fire Marshal.
After a nearly 6-week-long investigation with multiple agencies, the OSFM reported that the Otis Cafe fire was caused by spontaneous combustion of kitchen waste.
The café, located at 1259 Hwy 18 in Otis, caught fire on July 4. The restaurant was closed at the time of the fire.
Crews that responded to the scene found heavy smoke engulfing the building and flames coming from the eaves and chimney.
Fire damage was contained to the kitchen area and the attic, but the building sustained extensive damage throughout from the smoke and heat.
The OSFM reported the following about the fire’s cause:
“Fire-damage evidence indicated the fire’s origin was in the cafe’s kitchen, near the cooking range.
Investigators concluded the cause was spontaneous combustion of combustible items such as paper towels absorbed with oil and grease waste, improperly discarded underneath the gas range in a plastic bucket.
"Spontaneous ignition can occur with the combustion of a material by an internal chemical or biological reaction that may produce sufficient heat to ignite the material. This may be a slow process," according to the Oregon State Fire Marshal.
Additionally, the OSFM said that the Otis Cafe fire “serves as a reminder to discard used, oil-laden towels and fabrics in a closed top, non-combustible container made for their disposal — outside and away from combustible structures.”
Back in July, Otis Cafe owner Jeff England stated that he hopes to rebuild and has been overwhelmed by the support from the community. There has been no update on if the restaurant will reopen.
A GoFundMe that was launched for the Otis Cafe had raised just over $10,000 as of Tuesday.
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