Flash Fire in Hotel Kitchen Sparks Urgent Call for Plumbing Service

Large hotels with restaurants typically utilize gas for heating and cooking purposes due to its efficiency and reliability. Gas fuels boilers and furnaces providing hot water for showers, sinks and laundry facilities. Many hotels use gas to produce heat for their HVAC systems and for backup generators providing a reliable source of uninterrupted electricity in the case of a power outage. Gas is also the preferred choice for cooking in hotel kitchens due to its precise temperature control and immediate heat availability.

Commercial ranges, ovens, grills, and other cooking equipment are commonly used in hotel restaurants and kitchens. These appliances are directly connected to a natural gas or propane supply. It’s imperative to have shut off valves installed on these pipelines to ensure emergency safety, facilitate maintenance and repairs, simplify equipment replacement, and aid in gas leak detection. These valves provide control over the gas supply, allowing for quick and decisive action to mitigate potential hazards and ensure the overall safety of the kitchen and its occupants. Not having a shut off valve on a gas line and experiencing an emergency are the ingredients to a recipe for disaster.

Recently, a duct cleaning company was servicing an upscale hotel’s kitchen equipment in Lexington, Va. As they were moving ovens and gas ranges, they accidentally broke the gas connection supplying the grills. This active gas line snapped while the pilots were lit on the grills and stove resulting in a flash fire badly burning one of the technicians with 2nd degree burns. Without a shut off valve on the kitchen gas line, the hotel did an emergency shut off of all gas to the building sparking an emergency call to Southern Air Plumbing Service.

The call originally went to Roanoke Construction project manager, Chris Boone who forwarded the emergency to Southern Air Service Plumbing Manager Troy Layne. He urgently responded to the emergency call with plumbers Wes Banks and Will Swindell as they raced to the hotel. The team had gas resupplied to the building within a few hours after installing a shut off valve to the kitchen. With functionality restored to the rest of the hotel, it was time to fix and upgrade the kitchen lines.

The team demolished the dysfunctional system and ripped out all the old piping. Banks and Swindell re-piped all the gas lines in the entire kitchen with 2” pipe. They connected the gas to the kitchen equipment with new verticals lines and tees using Mega Press technology. This allows our team to join pipes, fittings and valves without having to solder. They installed multiple shut off valves and whips to directly connect the new gas line to the kitchen equipment. After a quick call to get the upgraded lines inspected with a pressure test, the hotel kitchen and restaurant were back up and running, just days after the incident.

Thanks to the quick response of Southern Air Plumbing Service, the gas supply was promptly restored, and the entire kitchen underwent a much-needed upgrade, allowing the hotel’s operations to resume smoothly within days. This incident highlights the crucial role of shut-off valves, modern piping technology, and high value of skilled tradespeople in maintaining the safety and functionality of the piping systems we all rely on each and every single day.