Grill explosion at El Charro restaurant results in minor burns for two employees, kitchen damage

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published August 3, 2016


FRASER — The Fraser Department of Public Safety is investigating a grill explosion that occurred around 10:30 a.m. Aug. 3 at El Charro, on 14 Mile Road near Garfield Road.

The incident occurred before normal business hours. Two employees — a manager and a prep cook — were lighting the pilot on a grill when it suddenly exploded.

El Charro Manager Jeff Martin said the grill just blew up on the two individuals, who were taken by medical personnel to a local hospital. Everyone inside the building was immediately evacuated, standing in the parking lot watching the cleanup effort.

The odor emitting from the kitchen could be smelled all around the parking lot.

“(The employees) were here until 10 minutes ago,” Martin said around 11:15 a.m. “I (told) them to go to the hospital. Paramedics wrapped up (one employee). She was more shaken than anything.”

DPS Director George Rouhib said something ignited the grill and caused the explosion, and that is still under investigation.

The flames hit the ceiling, and the kitchen fire suppression system above the grill never turned on.

“It was a constant flame coming out, and the manager sustained some minor burns on her arms and the cook had some minor burns,” Rouhib said.

An insurance agent on scene said there was no way the restaurant would open the rest of the day. Authorities were waiting for Consumer’s Energy, DTE Energy, the Macomb County Health Department and the local building department to arrive and assess the situation.

“I wouldn’t say there’s significant damage, but I’d say there’s at least anywhere between $7,000 to $10,000 of damage,” Rouhib said, adding that the fire was extinguished rather quickly.

“We want to know why that suppression system didn’t go off because it had just been recently inspected.”