Church's Chicken closes Sunday following fire
By Adam Prestridge

A grease fire forced Church's Chicken employees and customers out into the rain Sunday evening to escape heavy smoke.

According to Atmore Fire & Rescue Department chief Gerry McGhee grease from a grease vat used for cooking chicken splattered out sparking a fire around 7:30 p.m. He said the overflow of grease went into some electrical wires causing the building's fire alarms to sound and the automatic fire extinguisher located over the vat to release powder to snuff the fire.

McGhee said he believes if not for the automatic fire extinguisher, the fire "could have been worse."

"They are real important," McGhee said. "All businesses that cook using grease are required to have these types of automatic extinguisher over the cookers. In the event of a fire, it sprays a special powder that puts out the fire until we get there."

Fortunately the fire was minor, but McGhee said the fire department doesn't take any call lightly.

"Anytime we've got a business like that all my men and trucks respond no matter what it is," he said. "They can say it is a small fire, but we all still go to check it out and make sure everything is safe. We like to make the call that it's safe before we give the business owner or manager the OK to start bringing employees and customers back in."

In this case, Church's Chicken management made the call to close down the fast food establishment for the rest of the evening to clean up at the advice of the fire department. The restaurant reopened the following morning.

The Atmore Fire & Rescue Department sent two pumper trucks to the scene and a rescue truck. Kelley's Ambulance Service was also called to the fire to ensure no one needed medical attention. The Atmore Police Department also responded.

Russ Spence

Commercial Pressure Wash Expert and PWI Admin
sorry but we are a bit slow down here ..... retarded was the latest word used ..... be right back gotta go kiss my cousin and our kids bye !!!!


New member
There are still a few here and there in Va as well. I do a country inn that used to be part of a military base. I t was built to whatever the military wanted in the 50-60's and was then turned over to the civilian side in the late 80's the fire marshall has allowed them to use the same system. as a matter of fact it was discharged in 1990 and they operated with no fire supression system at all until last year when they were told they had to upgrade. They are still open and cooking as I type this with no fire supression system in place.


Greaser of the Year
Half the time they're so dirty that they don't go off anyway....

You would think that THIS is something that states and counties would be cracking down on instead of worrying about if they have the proper hand washing signs up in the bathroom ;)


New member
It's a joke here. The health inspector says the hoods are the fire marshal's problem UNLESS they are dripping grease on the food surfaces. The fire marshall is all over them when they are designed and installed then never go back to see if they are in compliance. All they ever check is if the system has been serviced not cleaned