Discarded smoking materials in the mulch of a landscaped area outside Red Lobster are being blamed for a fire at the Bel Air restaurant on Saturday.
Just before 1 p.m. on Saturday emergency personnel were dispatched to the Red Lobster restaurant in the 600 block of Bel Air Road for the report of a building fire.
Restaurant staff was alerted to the odor and sight of smoke within the bathroom of the structure and found the source of the smoke to be a smoldering, exterior mulch bed, adjacent to the exterior wall of the structure. Staff members attempted to extinguish the fire by using a bucket of water and started evacuating the building’s occupants in a safe and organized manner.
Ten firefighters from the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company responded and had the fire under control within 10 minutes. Quick action by the staff and fire department facilitated a timely mitigation of the emergency.
Deputies from the State Fire Marshal, Northeast Regional Office were requested by Harford County Emergency Services to investigate the origin and cause of the building fire. Investigators arrived on scene and determined the discard of smoking materials into a mulch bed on the exterior of the structure caused the fire.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal estimated the fire caused $3,000 in damage to the structure and another $1,000 in damage to its contents. There were no reported injuries.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal would like to remind citizens to be cautious when discarding smoking materials and avoid discarding into dry vegetation.