Firefighters from Stevens Point, Plover, and Hull were all called to the scene initially. (Metro Wire photo)

Southpoint closed following kitchen fire

By Brandi Makuski

Metro Fire crews were called to a reported stove fire on the 3000 block of Church St. Tuesday afternoon.

Smoke was visible from the roof ventilation system of Southpoint Family Restaurant, 3057 Church St., when Lt. David Briggs from the Stevens Point Fire Department arrived shortly after 6 p.m. The building was evacuated when crews arrived and no injuries were reported.

Briggs was one of the first firefighters on the scene and said a Stevens Point police officer attempted to knock down the stove fire before SPFD responded.

“He tried to put it out but the fire was still going,” Briggs said. Briggs said he saw the fire through a window of the popular diner and entered the building, using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.

After a search of the building, firefighters determined the fire had not spread, and responding departments from Plover and Hull were asked to stand down.

Briggs said the cause of the fire appears to be “an accumulation of grease on the stovetop that was disrupted by a boilover of water, what they were cooking”.

“So when the water hit the grease, it vaporized it,” he added.

Briggs said the Portage Co. Health Department was also called to the scene, which is protocol following a kitchen fire in a commercial building.

“For the health of the citizens, they assess what needs to be disposed of, what needs to be cleaned, what can be put back in service, and they will allow the business to reopen,” Briggs said.

Briggs said he expects the restaurant to reopen “in pretty short order” because there was no damage to the structure or cooking appliances.

“They do have to go through some extensive cleaning before they reopen,” he said.

Stevens Point firefighters cleared the scene after about 45 minutes.