Hallowell firefighters on Sunday stopped a small kitchen fire before it caused significant damage to a downtown building.

Fire Chief Michael Grant said firefighters were called at 4:20 p.m. after workers at Hattie’s Chowder House at 103 Water St. smelled smoke in the kitchen. Firefighters investigated and found a hot spot behind the oven. Crews opened up the wall and discovered a 1-foot square section that was smoldering and ready to erupt in flames, Grant said. Flames did indeed break out when crews removed the wall and exposed the hot spot to air.

“We could have lost the whole building,” Grant said.

The fire caused about $8,000 in damage. The wall was replaced Monday afternoon, Grant said. Hattie’s management posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page that the business was closed Monday but expected to reopen soon.

Grant said the hot spot was created by a non-approved Sheetrock nail used to secure the oven. The nail transferred heat from the oven through the protective fire wall and into the inner wall.

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