A fire began in the kitchen of The Capital Grille at Somerset Collection June 13. The northern section of the mall was evacuated, and there were no injuries.

A fire began in the kitchen of The Capital Grille at Somerset Collection June 13. The northern section of the mall was evacuated, and there were no injuries.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

Restaurant fire sparks Somerset evacuation

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published June 22, 2022

 The Troy Fire Department responded to the fire.

The Troy Fire Department responded to the fire.

Photo by Donna Dalziel


TROY — An evacuation of the northern half of the Somerset Collection in Troy was conducted after a fire broke out in one of the mall’s restaurants June 13.

The fire started between 4:30 and 5 p.m. The Troy Fire Department responded to the blaze and had the fire extinguished by 6 p.m.

“We had a fire that started in the kitchen area of The Capital Grille,” said Lt. Dan Mahrle, the public information officer for the Troy Fire Department. “The fire got into some of the ventilation systems and extended up to the roof area of the mall. We had crews working inside The Capital Grille to extinguish the fire and we had crews working up on the roof. The fire (as of 6 p.m.) was extinguished, but we still have some crews removing smoke from inside the mall.”

Five Troy fire stations had personnel on the scene. Several calls came into the department regarding the fire or smoke seen coming out of the roof.

“We got the initial call at 4:52 p.m. with a call of smoke coming from the top of the mall,” said Mahrle. “We got several 911 calls both from inside and outside of the mall in quick succession. … We arrived shortly thereafter and got to work both in the restaurant and on the roof. We upgraded to a second and then third alarm to bring some additional personnel to the scene at about 5:23 p.m.”

Mahrle said the damage was relegated mostly to The Capital Grille restaurant where the fire started.

“There was no real damage to the mall outside of The Capital Grille. There is some possible smoke damage elsewhere, though. There was some damage to the roof. There were no injuries reported,” he said. “Alliance Mobile Health (paramedics) were on the scene, but no one needed to be treated. … There’s no estimate on how much square footage was damaged yet.”

Dino Shuti, a valet worker at Somerset, was working at the time of the incident. He said he and his fellow employees were instructed to leave by security.

“I didn’t see any smoke or anything from where I was. … What I’ve heard so far from the security guards is that this side of the mall is shut down for the rest of the day. There’s no timeline that I’ve been told other than that,” Shuti said. “We haven’t heard anything from our employers other than that we are shut down for the day. We’re sticking around to give anyone still here their keys, and then we’re headed home.”

The mall’s security personnel began an evacuation, which was aided by Troy firefighters when they arrived.

“The building itself is set up with a fire alarm system to assist with an evacuation,” Mahrle said. “Initially, we just evacuated the quad that was affected. Somerset’s security personnel works well with us, so they started the process. Once we started to see the smoke begin to spread, we, along with Somerset security, evacuated that whole half of the mall. Security personnel did a good job of going store to store, and then we did what is called a secondary search to make sure there was no fire extension and that there were no people that could have gotten missed.”

Mahrle added that the cause of the fire was still unknown as of 7 p.m. on June 13.

“We did close down a portion of the mall while we were operating just to make sure everyone was safe. Our fire investigators are now going to start getting into it,” he said. “It looks like the damage to The Capital Grille was mostly contained to the kitchen. The dining room area doesn’t have any fire damage, but it does have some smoke damage. We’re not sure what the restoration is going to look like. It’s too early to tell at this point.”

Peter Van Dyke, the owner of VVK PR + Creative, which handles public relations for Somerset Collection, said the management staff of the Somerset Collection is handling the situation carefully and are very thankful for the quick actions taken by the security staff of the mall and the Troy Fire Department.

“The fire started at The Capital Grille. The Somerset Collection was open the next day. Because of the quick response by security and the Fire Department, they addressed the situation quickly, and no one was injured,” said Van Dyke. “They are still assessing the severity of the damage and determining their next steps. There’s no plans currently about what the future will be for the space.”

He stressed that the mall was reopened to all business except The Capital Grille as of June 14.

“As far as we know, no specific cause for the fire has been determined yet other than that it started in the kitchen of The Capital Grille (as of June 15),” he said. “The mall is open and The Capital Grille will be the only thing closed, and it will be closed until further notice, but everything else is open and ready for customers.”