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Equipment malfunction at distillery in Eureka causes minor damage to building

EUREKA- firefighters responded to a commercial building after smoke was seen filling the air.  The smoke was seen at 10:40 p.m. last night at Marcella Draperies on the 200 block of 7th Street.

Humboldt Bay Fire determined the smoke was due to an equipment malfunction.  Firefighters saw smoke when they entered the building, but could not locate a fire.  They then saw between five and ten gallons of superheated vegetable oil on the floor of a distillery next to a kettle.  They were able to absorb the hot vegetable oil and ventilate the building.  Fire officials say a switch that was supposed to shut the heat off of the kettle malfunctioned, causing the vegetable oil to over heat and spill onto the floor.  No one was in the building at the time and there were no injuries and only minor damage.

"When you're dealing with equipment, sometimes things don't always work as they're supposed to.  So really no negligence, no one's fault, just the switch failed and the unit did not shut off.  The owners left the business and went home for the evening.  And it's just fortunate that somebody saw the smoke and determine what it was and there was no real further damage at all to the structure," said Fire Chief Ken Woods of Humboldt Bay Fire.