A call to Spalding County 911 was received at 4:14 p.m., which led to a response from Griffin Fire-Rescue and the Griffin Police Department.
“There was just a little bit of smoke at first but when we turned it (the deep fryer) off, it got worse,” said Annette Pearson, a Dwarf House assistant manager. “There was grease in the thing but it never caught fire - they got here too soon.”
Pearson estimated that the first emergency responder arrived on the scene within “a matter of minutes.”
“We had 16 customers. Lt. (Morris) Pike came and he told me to get everyone out,” Pearson said, adding that there were approximately 16 employees present, also. “The evacuation was orderly. It took just minutes, probably just one minute or so. It was very quick. It didn’t take long at all.”
Once firefighters from GF-R entered the building, the cause of the smoke was quickly discovered.
“We went in to see what they had and found one of the deep fryers was smoldering up underneath it,” said Capt. Mark Gilreath, of GF-R. “We put it out with a fire extinguisher, unplugged the unit, took it outside and ventilated the structure.”
When asked her impression of the emergency personnel responding to the incident, Pearson said, “Oh, they were wonderful. They were going to come in the front door, but I opened the back door and showed them where to go. I stayed outside - I didn’t want to go in there with all the smoke.”
According to Pearson, there was virtually no damage to the restaurant or losses associated with the incident.
“We had one set of customers who all they had to do was pay and they did that - they stayed and paid their bill,” she said.