Fire beneath refrigerator at Cottage restaurant in Siesta Village extinguished without property damage

Incident marks second time since late February that a business owned by Chris Brown contends with fire alarm

A red balloon marks the row of buildings where The Cottage stands in Siesta Village. Image from Google Maps

Once again, a fire that potentially could have caused major damage to a Siesta Key Village restaurant was contained quickly by members of the Sarasota County Fire Department, The Sarasota News Leader has learned.

And, once again, the affected restaurant was one of the businesses that Chris Brown of Osprey owns on the Key.

At 6:19 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, the alarm went out firefighters, the county report says. Units were dispatched to 153 Avenida Messina, which is the site of The Cottage restaurant.

When the firefighters/paramedics of Engine 13 — which is based on Siesta Key — arrived at the scene at 6:25 a.m., the report notes, they saw no indication of smoke or flames. However, they learned from an exterminator, Luis Mercado — who had called in the incident — that he had seen “light smoke” in the kitchen when he came into the business to treat it, the report adds.

“He stated that he walked around a bit and heard a ‘pop’ and then saw a fire underneath one of the refrigerators,” the report continues.

When the firefighters entered the building, the report says, they found light smoke throughout the kitchen and a small fire beneath a refrigerator. After they ensured that power to the structure had been shut off, the report adds, they used a water can to extinguish the fire.

“A ventilation fan was set up to help with the smoke and crew waited for a key holder,” the report continues. “No further hazards found.”

The report points out that no property damage occurred. It does say that the fire ignited in a plastic section of an appliance housing.

The fire was under control by 6:28 a.m., the report notes; the last firefighting unit cleared the scene at 7:04 a.m.

This is a view of the interior of The Cottage. Photo from the restaurant’s website

Altogether, five fire suppression units and two EMS units were dispatched to the site, the report adds, with 17 crew members altogether. The one-story building comprises 1,600 square feet on the main floor, the report says.

Although smoke detectors are present in The Cottage, the report points out, the fire was too small to activate them before the firefighters arrived. The restaurant also has a sprinkler system, the report notes.

In late February, the News Leader reported that county firefighters were called to the Summer House restaurant, which is adjacent to The Cottage, in response to a fire alarm. In that incident, the crews found that a fire had broken out beneath a fish tank. It, too, was extinguished with a can of water, with no damage to the structure.

Chris Brown also owns the Summer House and the Hub Baja Grill, which is on the same block as The Cottage. Formally, the owner of The Cottage is 5148 Beach Road of Sarasota LLC, the Sarasota County Property Appraiser’s Office notes in its records. The company bought the parcel in August 2006, the property record says.

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