Spruce Goose to reopen after ‘minor grill fire’

By Kirk Boxleitner
Posted 5/15/24



The morning of Wednesday, May 8, saw the Spruce Goose Cafe, at the Jefferson County International Airport, experienced a flare-up that’s forced them to close their doors …

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Spruce Goose to reopen after ‘minor grill fire’




The morning of Wednesday, May 8, saw the Spruce Goose Cafe, at the Jefferson County International Airport, experienced a flare-up that’s forced them to close their doors for a bit, but they hope to be back by the time you read these words.

Over on the NextDoor social networking service for neighborhoods, the management at the Spruce Goose posted to alert their customers and the community that the cafe had suffered “a minor grill fire” that compelled the establishment to close to the public “until we can clean up, get a new grill and have the necessary inspections to re-open.”

Robert Wittenberg, community risk manager for East Jefferson Fire Rescue, confirmed the details of the kitchen fire at the Spruce Goose, issuing a press release stating that, at approximately 5:30 a.m. May 8, EJFR personnel responded to a report of “smoke and flames” at the cafe on 310 Airport Road. 

First-arriving crews found and were able to use “fire extinguishers and some water” to extinguish what Wittenberg described as “a small grease fire that occurred behind the grill,” as he stipulated there was no indication of the fire extending beyond the appliance, “into the wall or structure of the kitchen.”

After extinguishing the fire, crews then ventilated the kitchen of the remaining smoke, and Wittenberg noted that all occupants were safely evacuated, with no injuries reported.

Andrea Raymor and Chris Cray became co-owners of the Spruce Goose Cafe in 1999, after it had begun in the 1960s as an informal fly-in pie-and-coffee stop.

Raymor provided a progress report on the cafe’s repairs to The Leader.

“We have been working at what feels like lightning speed,” Raymor said. “We were incredibly fortunate to have no building damage or injured personnel, since our suppression system and hood fan did their jobs, long enough for East Jefferson Fire Rescue to arrive and finish it off with chemical retardant.”

The only needed replacement was a 48-inch flat-top griddle, and Raymor noted the cafe was able to source one in Seattle, that arrived via Peninsula Truck Lines on Friday, May 10, “so that alone felt like we won the lottery.”

Otherwise, Raymor has mostly been concentrating on the cafe’s cleanup and recharging its fire  suppression system.

“The Insurance company has been great — shout out to Homer Smith Insurance — so we’ve been able to continue with our cleanup, and not pause while waiting for adjusters,” Raymor said. “It was agreed that a speedy reopening was the best way to mitigate the claim.”

Raymor said she and Cray have been “touched” by the community’s offers of support, but they’ve been able to handle the cafe’s recovery so far, thanks to their “amazing employees” and “some great contractors,” including Peninsula Fire Extinguisher, Pipe Masters and Mobile Pressure Cleaning, as well as “some strong young men” from Edensaw Woods.

“My husband got coworkers to help move the new grill,” said Raymor, who added that, if the cafe can reconnect its propane, conduct a last-minute cleaning, and pass its fire and health inspections promptly enough, she anticipated the Spruce Goose Cafe could hopefully be reopened in time for when this story sees print on Wednesday, May 15.

“Like I said lightning speed,” Raymor said. “Tell the community to come, say hi and have a meal. What a great community we get to live in.”