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  • Fire at Food Businesses

    Keeping food safe after a fire.

    Fires are dangerous, even after they are extinguished. Heat, smoke, fumes, chemicals used to fight fire, and water damage can make food unhealthy to eat. Follow these steps to make sure you and your customers are protected.

    Be sure to document the type and amount of food thrown away. You may be able to file an insurance claim. Consider hiring a professional cleaning or fire restoration service.

    After a fire:

    • Close immediately and stop preparing all food!
    • Contact your local health department for assistance.

    Before reopening:

    • Verify hot and cold running water is available for handwashing and dishwashing.
    • Verify all equipment works correctly. This includes refrigeration, cooking, hot holding, and ventilation equipment.
    • Get approval from the fire department, city building department, and any other assisting agencies.
    • Contact the Health Department at (253) 649-1417 to schedule a pre-opening inspection. The facility must stay closed until approved to reopen. In some cases, plan review may be required.

    Items to discard:

    • Open food, dry food and spices.
    • Ice, fryer oil, and shake and ice cream mixes.
    • Food stored in refrigerators and freezers. Equipment is not airtight.
    • Food with permeable packaging such as cardboard, plastic wrap, and screw cap jars and bottles.
    • Single service items like cups, to-go containers, napkins and straws.
    • Canned food exposed to heat. You may be able to save canned food not exposed to heat. Remove the label, wash, rinse, and sanitize cans, then relabel.

    Wash, rinse and sanitize:

    • Food contact surfaces including utensils, silverware, dishware, pots and pans, food preparation equipment and sinks.
    • Floors, walls, ceilings, vent hood, exposed pipes, and floor drains.
    • Dining area tables, chairs, menus, and restrooms.

    We are here to help.

    Our staff can help answer questions or provide technical assistance.

    Contact our Food Safety

    You can also view and print our infographic, which may help keep food safe after a fire.