The incident quickly escalated to a second alarm with crews from Larkspur, Corte Madera, San Rafael, Kentfield, Ross Valley, and Mill Valley assisting at the scene. Upon arrival, fire crews found heavy smoke coming from the second floor of the building.
The Tavern at Lark Creek operates within one of Larkspur’s historic downtown structures at the south end of the Lark Creek Shopping complex. The building, constructed in the late 1800’s and for years used as a residence, was eventually converted to a restaurant in the early 1970’s.
Initial assessment is that the fire started within or around the kitchen exhaust flue areas. After complete extinguishment about 90 minutes after the fire started, it continues to appear that the fire originated near an oven flue exhaust pipe on the roof area of the second floor of the building. Most of the fire was contained to portions of the roof, eaves, interior chases and attic areas, but the entire structure including the dining and kitchen areas suffered significant smoke, heat and water damage.
Coincidentally, it was the fire department engine crew from Larkspur’s downtown station returning from an earlier emergency call who saw smoke, investigated, and ultimately turned in the first report. Because few people are awake at this hour, this most likely prevented a delay in receiving a report of the fire and subsequently further damage to the building - thanks to their quick action.
It is still too early to determine damage estimates. However, the building is structurally stable and intact, thus repairs and remodeling can soon begin in order to get the business back up and running.