Beachside restaurant closed after small kitchen fire


VERO BEACH — A well-known restaurant closed Monday after two stoves caught fire overnight, caused by an oven that was accidentally left on in the kitchen, fire rescue crews said.

“There were remnants of grease left on the stove top from daily cooking,” Indian River County Fire Rescue Battalion Chief Kyle Kofke said of the incident that happened at Waldo’s Restaurant. “The oven got hot enough to start a grease fire.”

No injuries were reported in the fire and there was no structural damage to the building, part of the Historic Driftwood Resort, officials said. The hotel rooms above the restaurant were briefly evacuated, Waldo’s General Manager Lee Olsen said.

“We’re extremely happy and grateful to Indian River County Fire Rescue,” Olsen said. “It could’ve been much worse.”

Firefighters responded to the incident about 1 a.m. Monday at the eatery, located in the 3100 block of Ocean Drive. Flames could be seen and smoke swirled from the restaurant to the hotel rooms above, Kofke said.

The fire suppression system contained the flames to the stoves before fire crews arrived. Crews put out the small fire within 15 minutes, Olsen said.

The state fire marshal did not respond to the scene, an Indian River County sheriff’s report shows.

Olsen, who has managed Waldo’s for 14 years, said there have not been any other fires at the eatery in previous years. The restaurant will have to get two new stoves from Edward Don & Company, a restaurant supply store in Miramar, before it reopens, Olsen said.

Waldo’s will also have to get its sprinkler system recharged and its kitchen re-certified by a fire suppression company before they can cook again, officials said. Olsen said the eatery could possibly reopen Tuesday or Wednesday.

Waldo’s has been in operation since 1947, Olsen said. The restaurant is located in a building that is on the national registry for historic places and is a popular with residents and tourists.



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