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Fire at Chicken Restaurant on Columbia Pike

by ARLnow.com May 19, 2012 at 6:29 pm 7,498 24 Comments

(Updated at 6:45 p.m.) One lane of Columbia Pike is back open in each direction after the road was shut down between S. Monroe Street and S. Oakland Street due to a fire at a chicken restaurant.

A significant kitchen fire broke out at the El Rancho Peruvian Style Chicken & Latin Grill restaurant on the 3600 block of Columbia Pike around 5:00 p.m. Firefighters had to tear out the restaurant’s duct work to battle the blames, we’re told.

The restaurant is expected to remain closed for a few weeks while repairs are made. There was no damage reported at an adjacent drycleaning business.

  • Andy

    It probably smelled pretty good.

  • Parkington

    I can confirm that it did, I felt a little guilty for enjoying it while I biked past.

  • brian

    “battle the blames, “….

    • NrNy2ArlVa

      Technical term used by the arson investigation squad.

      • WeiQiang

        … first coined by the County Board to evade accountability.

  • Mike

    When they re-open, EAT THERE! El Ranchero has arguably the best Pollo in town and undeniably the very best yucca, golden and crunchy outside, creamy inside.

    Under new management, their food is consistent and always delicious.

    We call it Laundromat Chicken.

    • Mike

      El Rancho (My mistake, like I said, we call it laundromat chicken)

    • South ArlJD

      El Pollo Rico has better chicken. Doesn’t the chicken from this place taste a little “laundromatty” if it’s right next door to a drycleaner’s?

      • george

        Problem is, El Pollo Rico is more addictive than crack. Now that youve said the name, I need to go eat there.

        • 2nd that

          I used to work across the street and it was the best $5 lunch ever… I don’t miss that job, but man I miss that lunch break!

  • Mike

    This place reminds me of Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad.

  • speonjosh

    Thank goodness the 7-11 next door was all right!

  • Westover

    Just prolonging the inevitable. That store sits on way too valuable land for its use. Maybe somebody was trying to get a head start.

    • Slow and Slower

      I don’t know….Columbia Pike has been in the process of “revitalizing” for quite awhile.

      In fact, I thought “Revitalizing Columbia Pike” was the name of the road…..

      • Revitalizing Columbia Pike

        I know… the $5.7 million for the second phase of the Columbia Pike Utility Underground and Streetscape Improvements project, from S. Wakefield Street to Four Mile Run Drive, the County Board approved yesterday won’t hurt.

  • CW

    Had to tear out the ductwork? I’d like to hear a technical explanation for that one.

    • nom de guerre

      May have been the cooking hood/exhaust ductwork which typically attracts grease and an eventual build up can fuel a fire.

    • Ballston Resident

      Grease fire in the exhaust duct? Those things build up layers of grease and sometimes they are also lined for sound control. Once the fire is inside the duct they have to rip it apart to put it out.

    • South Awwlington

      Kitchen hoods need to be cleaned periodically. Depends on what you are cooking on the frequency. Sounds like someone wasn’t maintaining or just being cheap.

      • CW

        No no I understand all of that. Just as a non-firefighter I was surprised that the first path of action was to tear it our rather than 1) pour water down it, or 2) just hose down the outside seeing as to how the fire would have presumably been contained in it. I was just curious as to what factors necessitated ripping the ductwork out.

        • South Awwlington

          I don’t know that you could extinguish this type of fire with water. Commercial Kitchens are required by code to have pressurized chemical extinguishers to handle situations like this. Maybe it was to large of a fire or the ducts were in that bad of shape. Hard to tell. 🙁

  • jigga

    if only there was some kind of white meat near at hand to use over the open fire……

  • JakeO

    Caribbean Grill has the best rotisserie chicken and you don’t risk getting burned to death.

  • Chicken

    Everyone raves about El Pollo Rico but I just can’t go there since they don’t have Yucca. I actually think Crisp & Juicy has the best chicken. While Super Pollo has the best sides. I haven’t tried El Rancho’s chicken but I will say they have amazing Chicharron.


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