A fire ignited at Restaurant Gastrognome on July 16 at approximately 5:10 p.m. causing some damage to the deck and just inside the entry doorway. As a result of that fire, the Riverside County Building and Safety Department had to inspect the building. That inspection took place on Tuesday, July 30 and the building was cleared that same day. All that is left are cosmetic improvements, according to the safety department.
How did the fire happen?
Anthony Thomas, who works at Gastrognome and performed maintenance on the outside deck July 16, told Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) Chief Mark LaMont what occurred earlier that day and the story matched the restaurant’s video footage, according to LaMont.
Thomas was at the restaurant from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on July 16 “cleaning and putting a touch-up finish of Super Deck, an oil-based, semi-transparent stain product on the high-traffic areas of the front deck,” according to the Structure Fire Investigation Report obtained from IFPD through a California Public Records Act request.
The stain, according to the report, consists of linseed oil, mineral spirits, cobalt 2, tuning oil, butooxypropanol, and soya alkyd polymer.
“During the course of the examination of the fire scene, the burn patterns and vector analysis indicate an area of origin at the receptacle located at the entry deck,” the investigation summary begins. “The event that caused the ignition, found as evident with live video, as spontaneous combustion due to the improper disposal of oil/stain-soaked rags. The extension of fire into the entry of the establishment was due to the recent application of a flammable product which acted as an accelerant and caused extended damage to the structure.”
The cause of the fire was concluded to be accidental based on the investigation performed by Captain Jim LaMont, who also serves as the fire marshall and is Chief Mark LaMont’s brother.
The incident report states that Chief Mark LaMont arrived on scene, “to find fire coming from a trash can under a computer cabinet on [the] front deck. Fire coming from a trash can was in contact with a cabinet above, and as such the chief attempted to move the trash can away from those flammable objects in an effort to limit exposures.” LaMont stated in an in-person conversation that he had found a pair of tongs and moved the contents in the top of the container. According to LaMont in an email, it was approximately two minutes from the time the fire ignited before firefighters were able to begin extinguishing the flames, as LaMont was first to arrive on scene.
The incident report also states that the fire was “knocked down in two minutes.” It continues, “Concurrently, a 360 of the building was completed and LPG [propane] and electricity was turned off. Primary search of the building was found to be all clear. A full search utilizing a thermal imaging device was conducted to ensure no extension into the structure had occurred, no finding of extension were made and salvage and overhaul operations began immediately.”
Future of Restaurant Gastrognome
It is uncertain at this time when the restaurant will reopen. The last update is that that the restaurant should be reopening soon, according to the sign on the fence surrounding the restaurant and Facebook.
The business portion of the Restaurant Gastrognome has been on the market for several months for $695,000, according to Hughes Property, the brokerage firm listing the business. According to the Hughes Properties website, “other business interest” is the reason for the sell.