Firehouse restaurant reopens after back-to-back county closures for cockroaches

FILE -- A dozen Happy Hour Oysters, from Hood Canal, Washington, $12.00 at The Firehouse on Tuesday, April 5, 2016.
FILE -- A dozen Happy Hour Oysters, from Hood Canal, Washington, $12.00 at The Firehouse on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. jvillegas@sacbee.com

The Firehouse Restaurant reopened Tuesday after back-to-back closures for cockroaches.

The Old Sacramento restaurant closed last Wednesday after inspectors found more than a dozen live cockroaches throughout the facility, and shuttered again this Monday after it failed reinspection.

Firehouse said the restaurant passed re-inspection Tuesday and reopened ahead of its scheduled dinner service.

A report from last week’s inspection by the county Environmental Management Department says that “15 live German cockroaches and 3 ootheca (egg sac)” were found throughout sinks, refrigerators, pipes and the salad prep area of the popular restaurant.

The violation constituted “vermin and animal contamination,” a major violation that closed the restaurant for the day. An additional 32 dead cockroaches, including five in The Firehouse’s main kitchen, were found on the premises, constituting a minor violation.

The Firehouse was given a red placard and closed for the day, but reopened a day later after a reinspection in which two live cockroaches were found behind piping. The bugs were flushed out and the county gave the restaurant the green placard to resume business Thursday.

“Sacramento County officials recently inspected the restaurant and identified areas where we needed to improve our maintenance and storage process,” the company said in its statement to The Sacramento Bee. “To make necessary improvements, we closed the restaurant temporarily. At no time, was there any question about the quality and procedures used to prepare meals and serve customers.”

Thursday’s reinspection report stated that the “salad/dessert prep area” was not to be used until the passed another reinspection, scheduled for this Monday, which would also “verify that (the) cockroach infestation has been eliminated.”

The Firehouse failed Monday’s reinspection and the restaurant was closed for the day as a result, according to the county website. Monday’s inspection report was not released, but the reason for closure is listed as “vermin and animal contamination.” The red placard returned.

On Tuesday, after a reinspection by county officials, the restaurant received its pass card and was reopened before the dinner service, the Firehouse’s owners said in an email.

“We are completing this work and training our staff to ensure the enhancements become part of our daily operating procedure and will reopen as soon as possible,” the establishment said ahead of Tuesday night’s reopening. “The Firehouse represents Sacramento’s history and holds itself to the highest standards of quality and service. This will never change.”

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.