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Dinner Sparks Fire in a Firehouse

November 27, 1987

SAN LEANDRO, Calif. (AP) _ There was no problem getting firefighters to the scene of a blaze on 143rd Avenue - it was the firehouse.

A prime rib dinner being cooked in the firehouse oven caught fire on Thanksgiving, but firefighters managed to save the main course, fire Capt. Darryl Karg said.

Karg, who blamed grease buildup for the fire, said the only real damage was the red face on hoseman-turned-cook Mike Bennardo.

Bennardo may be embarrassed ″for the rest of his career - and maybe beyond,″ he said.

Fire department dispatcher Lezlee Davis agreed that the crew was embarrassed.

″They had to call us and tell us,″ Davis said. ″They had to put themselves out of service awhile. To them it was probably a general alarm. They had to save their station.″

Bennardo’s training paid off, Karg said.

He turned off the oven and shut the door to smother the flames. The windows were thrown open by other firefighters to clear the smoke and the dinner was served on time.

″It tasted great,″ Karg said of the prime rib.

The firefighters decided against turkey because that is what they will enjoy with their families on their day off, Karg said.