From the large number of police and firefighters at the scene on San Pablo Avenue, it looked like a major emergency at Denny's restaurant in El Cerrito Saturday night, but it turned out to be a small appliance fire apparently caused by grease, according to the El Cerrito fire department.
A small fire broke out in an appliance beneath the deep-fat fryer, apparently from grease that leaked or spilled from the fryer, said fire Battalion Chief Michael Bond.
The small blaze – reported at 6:18 p.m. – caused no injuries or serious damage, but it forced the closure of the restaurant for several hours to allow for clean-up of caustic chemicals used in extinguishing the fire, Bond said.
"It was not a very serious fire," he said.
Because the extent of the fire wasn't known when the call came in, both the El Cerrito and Richmond fire departments responded, sending four fire engines, one fire truck and two battalion chiefs to the scene, Bond said.
A reader emailed Patch, saying, "The whole block of San Pablo just to the north of Potrero was shut down and there were many fire engines, fire fighters and police."
Don't miss any hometown news. Get the day's headlines and events – plus any breaking news alerts – by subscribing to the El Cerrito Patch email newsletter.