Photo: Tahvo Stephan.

Last night the ventilation system at the upscale off-Plaza restaurant Campground caught fire, sending flames and smoke like a beacon.

The images were spectacular, but the damage was not as bad as it might have been. Chris Emmons, assistant chief of the Arcata Fire District, tells the Outpost this morning that the built-in sprinkler systems performed admirably in containing the fire, and the staff of the restaurant were able to safely evacuate themselves and customers. 

“As spectacular as it looked, it was actually lucky, for lack of a better term, that it didn’t spread,” Emmons said.

In short: Not much damage to the building, though of course restaurant operations will be affected for a while.

Emmons said that it will have a more complete rundown of the fire and a tally of the damage in a press release today. We’ll update with that when they send it.


UPDATE: And here it is:

On 5/4/2023 at 9:45 P.M. a unit from Arcata Fire was dispatched to a local alarm at Campground restaurant in Arcata. While in route, the Fortuna Emergency Command Center upgraded the response to a full commercial structure fire dispatch.

Firefighters arrived to a three-story building with a restaurant on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors. The first engine that arrived on scene found smoke and flames coming from the ventilation fan on the roof and fire in the kitchen area of the restaurant. The fire was found to have traveled from the kitchen area to the roof vent.

Additional Arcata units arrived and began evacuating the remainder of the structure and looking for extension of the fire throughout the building. The restaurant staff did an excellent job of evacuating patrons from the restaurant before firefighters arrived on scene. Mutual aid resources arrived on scene and assisted with all operations.

The fire was reported to be accidental due to the hood ventilation system having a buildup of grease that had ignited. The extinguishing system held the fire in check and slowed the spread.

Mutual aid resources were released to provide coverage of the Arcata Fire Protection District while Arcata units remained engaged in the incident.Estimated damages come to $100,000.

Upon completion of the incident, all units were returned to their respective jurisdictions. Thanks go out to Humboldt Bay Fire, Blue Lake Vol. Fire, Fieldbrook Vol. Fire, Westhaven Vol. Fire, Samoa Vol. Fire and Kneeland Vol. Fire for providing mutual aid.

If you have questions, please contact the Arcata Fire Protection District at 707-825-2000.

Photo: The Pabst Boys.

Photo: Tahvo Stephan.