POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A beloved Winter Haven Italian restaurant will be closed for some time after a fire broke out in the establishment Sunday morning.
According to the Winter Haven Fire Department, a 911 call came in just before 8:50 a.m. regarding a fire at Floridino’s Italian Kitchen, located at 1919 8th Street NW.
When firefighters arrived at the restaurant, heavy smoke was seen coming from the front of the building.
Once crews got inside the restaurant, the fire department said firefighters saw heavy smoke and fire within the kitchen area.
With the help of additional units from Polk County, Auburndale, and Lake Alfred, the fire was put out an hour and 20 minutes after the initial call.
A release from the fire department says it appears an employee at the business started the daily procedures for opening the restaurant when there was an incident involving hot oil. The employee exited the building and called 911. The employee was not injured.
Due to the extensive damage to the kitchen and the roof, the restaurant will be closed until further notice.
Officials say the quick response by Winter Haven fire personnel was key in saving the business and getting the employee immediate medical attention.
“I cannot express how proud I am of our firefighters and their determination to ensure the worker was safe and the fire was contained”, said Public Safety Director Charlie Bird. “The quick response and aggressive strategies saved the business’ structure.”