Wheaton mall fire attributed to grease build-up

Police stand at the entrances to the mall, alerting shoppers they cannot go in due to the smoke in the building.
Shoppers look on as firefighters work to extinguish the fire and smoke inside the food court on Saturday, Dec. 28.
Shoppers evacuated from the Wheaton Mall wait outside the food court.
Firetrucks and emergency response vehicles fill the service road outside the mall's food court.
Firefighters enter the building on the level above the fire to try and extinguish it.

WASHINGTON – The Saturday, Dec. 28 fire at Crisp and Juicy at Westfield Wheaton mall is being blamed on a build-up of grease and other substances in duct work over the cooking area, says Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

The fire began around 11:15 a.m. Saturday and the mall was evacuated immediately. Firefighters quickly knocked out the blaze and the mall reopened shortly after 2:30 p.m.

According to Graham, the approximate damage was $180,000. A firefighter suffered minor injuries.

Large fans were used to clear the mall of smoke.

Saturday was a busy day for “returns” at the store, and people remained lined-up outside the mall until it reopened.

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