Early morning kitchen fire doused by sprinkler

The kitchen at the Topaz Lodge is closed after a fire early Thursday morning.

The kitchen at the Topaz Lodge is closed after a fire early Thursday morning.


An early morning kitchen fire closed the Topaz Lodge restaurant on Thursday, East Fork Fire officials said.

East Fork firefighters responded to the fire alarm at 1:22 a.m. from the Topaz Ranch Estates Fire Station 4 with an engine with backup coming from Gardnerville and Minden.

Upon their arrival, firefighters found light smoke coming from the kitchen which serves the entire casino.

“The fire progressed from the cloth bin in the corner of the room and continued to gain intensity in heat and toxic smoke and gases as the fire progressed from the corner to the ceiling, where it began to roll across the ceiling until a single fire sprinkler head activated and suppressed the fire prior to the engine company arriving on scene and ensured the fire was completely extinguished,” officials said.

Fire crews pulled some areas of the ceiling above the fire to check for extension. The cause of the fire was attributed to spontaneous combustion of oil saturated rags that have been placed in a corner of the kitchen in a cloth bin.

“Thankfully, the fire sprinkler system did what it is designed to do and suppressed the fire, and limited the damage, to the historic Lodge,” East Fork Fire Marshal Amy Ray said. “Unlike 2007, the firefighters showed up to an incident where a fire had been suppressed and their safety was not in jeopardy and other responding units were able to return and continue to provide protection to the entire district.”

On April 3, 2007, an electrical fire broke out at the Lodge in the upper attic space.

The casino was evacuated just before 6 p.m. when the fire was reported. Flames and smoke could be seen breaking through the casino's roof and was located above the fire sprinkler system. East Fork firefighters made an aggressive stop on the fire. After a 13-week closure, the Lodge opened fully remodeled and ready for business.

District Chief Tod Carlini, who responded to the 2007 fire, said all he could think about on his way down to the fire from Minden was the impact on the community and Douglas County if the Lodge could not be saved.

“So many people in southern Douglas County depend on the Lodge being there,” he said. “It is a vital contributor to the economy of this part of Douglas County.”

The Topaz Lodge restaurant is currently closed, however, due to the activation of the sprinkler system damage was kept to a minimum and the rest of the Lodge remains open.

East Fork Fire Protection District is working with the casino management to make repairs as quickly as possible in order to reopen the kitchen and dining areas.

The Topaz Lodge has been an icon property in southern Douglas County and can be considered the hub of both the Topaz Lake are and Topaz Ranch Estates. It serves as a place of employment for many southern Douglas County residents and draws large crowds of visitors who recreate in and around Topaz Lake.


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