2 minute read

Customers at Elemental Coffee, 815 N. Hudson, had some excitement on what would have been a sleepy afternoon when the roaster developed an internal fire during Monday.

But, only a few got up and left.

The rest stayed, including this reporter who was working only feet away from the roaster when the fire began.

One regular customer, Paul Stephens, couldn’t resist the temptation to make a joke about the event once the place was in the clear.

“I’ve been to a lot of coffee shops where they like their coffee hot. But, I’ve never been to one where they actually had to call the fire department to cool off the coffee.” [cue rim shot]

Heat, plus beans

Add extreme heat to coffee beans that are roasting and there may be a fire in the roaster occasionally. That’s according to some of the experienced roasters at Elemental Coffee.

But, it was a little more than usual when smoke suddenly started to fill the roasting room and billowed out the smokestack in the roof.

Elemental Roaster fire 2018-5-14 DSC_0127_v1
Three OKCFD companies respond to a call from Elemental Coffee. The only fire was inside the roaster. BRETTDICKERSON/OKCFreePress

Passers-by slowed to look at the heavy white smoke that drifted northward up the street.

Some smoke started to drift into the dining room where a few customers looked around nervously, but intrepid regulars calmly carried on.

The Elemental crew went to work to reverse the situation as the called 911.

Fire Department

Three companies from the Oklahoma City Fire Department responded just to be sure things didn’t get out of hand.

Firefighters stood by on the roof as others helped the Elemental staff partially disassemble the roaster to make sure there wasn’t any kind of external fire in the housing.

Calm customers

Blaine Coffee (his real name) told us he was studying outside on the patio when he noticed some sort of small debris landing on his books and papers.

So, he moved inside.

Eventually, smoke started to drift in there, too. But, he stayed, fully confident in the staff.

“No one was freakin’ out. They seemed to be on top of it,” said Coffee.

“OKCFD got here quick. I was oblivious. Had my headphones in. I didn’t know what was going on.”

By the time the fire department loaded up and pulled off, a line formed made up of those who were determined to get their afternoon coffee.

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