Deli Fire on Atwood Ave.

Incident Type
Sunday, April 7, 2019 - 8:31pm
Sunday, April 7, 2019 - 8:35pm
Sunday, April 7, 2019 - 8:54pm
2700 Block Atwood Ave
Madison, WI

Fire investigators have ruled this fire accidental as the result of spontaneous combustion of small kitchen towels.

On Sunday afternoon, deli staff took approximately 50 towels used for cooking and cleaning purposes to a Laundromat. They were washed using traditional detergents and then were dried at a high temperature for 60 minutes. The towels, which still contained cooking oil residue, were then placed in a wire mesh basket and stored underneath a prep table at the restaurant. The towels never fully cooled down, and hours later they spontaneously ignited. The fire spread to nearby products in the kitchen until it was put to a stop by firefighters at 8:40 p.m.

Damage estimates are still being obtained as insurance representatives and inspectors with Public Health Madison-Dane County determine which products stored at the deli can be salvaged.

This report will be updated as more information becomes available.

--PIO Cynthia Schuster

Posted 04/08/2019 - 1:33pm

Madison Fire crews were called to the 2700 block of Atwood Ave on Sunday night. The first call came from an alarm at 8:30 pm with neighbors reporting smoke at 8:31pm. Engine 5 and Medic 3 were the first to arrive on scene at 8:35pm. After completing a 360 of the building and observing heavy smoke, they broke the front door to gain access and found an active fire in the kitchen area. Engine 5 and Medic 3 commenced the fire attack while Engine 3 secured a water source and back up line. Ladder 8 performed a search of the property and confirmed that there were no occupants inside the building. Initial control of the fire was achieved 8:40pm. Crews found extension of the fire into the ceiling and some hot spots but had the fire fully extinguished by 8:54pm. Ladder 1 provided vertical ventilation. Madison Police closed down Atwood Ave. between Ohio and Waubesa while the scene was active. MG&E responded to the scene securing gas and electric.
The fire originated in the kitchen area and caused substantial damage to the property. The business was closed at the time and there were no occupants. No injuries were reported. Damage estimates are not available at this time but the deli will remain closed. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Posted 04/08/2019 - 12:02am

Amy Lampe, Fire Prevention Officer, (608) 243-0180,