When Ryan Hammons, 32, of Arlington Heights, arrived at work shortly after 4 p.m. on Monday, he found a small fire producing a cloud of smoke in front of an empty storefront near the restaurant where he works in Metropolitan Square. Hammons’ manager asked that the name of the national chain not be included in the story due to corporate policy.
Hammons, an associate trainer at the Des Plaines restaurant, said while he had been trained how to put out fires in previous positions, this was the first fire he tried to extinguish.
“I looked over and saw [the fire], and ran into [the restaurant] to get an extinguisher,” Hammons said.
The first extinguisher Hammons brought outside didn’t work because it needed to be charged, so he dashed back to the restaurant and returned with a second extinguisher.
After Hammons discharged a light yellow powder from the extinguisher onto the smoldering ground, arrived on the scene, and doused the fire. Duane Owen, lieutenant, and Dave Bedrich, paramedic, said the fire was likely caused by a cigarette, which they said was still burning when they arrived.