Wheaton mall fire attributed to grease build-up

Few minor injuries were reported, including a firefighter, at the Westfield Wheaton mall fire on Saturday, Dec. 28. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Police stand at the entrances to the mall, alerting shoppers they cannot go in due to the smoke in the building. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Shoppers look on as firefighters work to extinguish the fire and smoke inside the food court on Saturday, Dec. 28. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Shoppers evacuated from the Wheaton Mall wait outside the food court. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Firetrucks and emergency response vehicles fill the service road outside the mall's food court. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)
Firefighters enter the building on the level above the fire to try and extinguish it. (WTOP/Kathy Stewart)

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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