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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted at 12:10 p.m., Monday, May 21, 2001

Bakery blaze closes Middle Street

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

A crowd of white-suited Love's Bakery employees waits outside for the all-clear as firefighters douse a fire that started in a snack-pie fryer.
RICHARD AMBO • The Honolulu Advertiser

A fire at Love's Bakery headquarters today forced the evacuation of more than a dozen workers and prompted police to close Middle Street. No one was injured.

Eight fire companies responded to the 5:53 a.m. alarm at 911 Middle St. and had the fire under control at 6:08 a.m., said Honolulu Fire Department spokesman Capt. Richard Soo.

Acting Battalion Chief Leon Laba said the fire started in a vat used to fry pies. The fire was contained to the vat. The fire caused minimal damage to the structure and tainted some foodstuffs, Soo said.

Love's President Mickey Coffman said the fryer cooks 10,000 "snack pies" a day. The pies are distributed throughout the state, he said.

Workers said they saw flames licking out from the edge of the covered fryer. In a span of minutes, flames reached an estimated 9 or 10 feet, enough to scare workers into calling 911, they said.

Police opened Middle Street about one hour later.