Perkins restaurant remains closed after kitchen fire; reopening date not yet set

photo by: Sara Shepherd

Lawrence fire crews remain on scene at Perkins, 1711 W 23rd St., Monday afternoon, March 12, 2018, following a morning fire at the restaurant.

Nearly two weeks after a fire that started in the restaurant’s kitchen, Perkins Restaurant and Bakery, 1711 W. 23rd St., remains closed without an anticipated reopening date.

The restaurant is waiting on a visit from insurance company representatives before it can begin fire and water damage cleanup and repairs, regional manager Lori Jamieson said Friday. Jamieson said the insurance inspection is planned for Thursday, March 29, after which the restaurant hopefully can set an estimated reopening date.

Jamieson said she appreciated the patience of the restaurant’s regulars while it remains closed.

Fire department investigators estimate the fire, ruled accidental in nature, caused $120,000 in damage, Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical Division Chief and Fire Marshal James King said Friday.

That’s a preliminary and “conservative” estimate, however, King said. He said fire investigators were awaiting a figure on actual loss from the insurance company.

The fire was reported shortly before 10:30 a.m. March 12. The restaurant was evacuated, and firefighters deemed the blaze controlled in less than 30 minutes. No one was injured.

The fire started at the fryer and spread up through the hood system and into the ceiling, damaging more than meets the eye from the outside, King previously told the Journal-World.

Cooks had changed out grease in the fryer that morning, and the flare-up happened afterward. A sprinkler head activated, helping to keep the fire in check, but the fryer’s fire suppression system did not activate.