MOUNT VERNON — Henry’s at the Curtis Inn was closed Friday in a joint effort by the State Fire Marshal, the Mount Vernon Fire Department and the Knox County Board of Health. The restaurant had numerous fire safety and health code violations. The Curtis Inn also had various fire safety violations, but was not closed.
“There was an annual fire inspection conducted at the Curtis Inn last week,” said MVFD Acting Fire Chief Chris Menapace. “There were numerous fire safety violations cited, some of which were given a deadline of Friday afternoon to correct, some of which were given this Thursday to correct.
“We were in a group effort between the State Fire Marshal’s Office, the Mount Vernon Fire Department and the Knox County Board of Health,” Menapace said. “The restaurant was closed Friday afternoon and it has a possibility of reopening. This morning the Board of Health will meet with (the MVFD) up there to reinspect the kitchen.”
Menapace said the fire inspection was an annual inspection mandated by the state. This is done by the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Because it was his jurisdiction, Menepace assisted the state in the inspections. He will also be taking care of any follow-up action, such as today’s reinspection of the restaurant kitchen.
“We temporarily suspended (Henry’s) food service license,” said Environmental Director Nate Overholt of the Knox County Health Department. “It was a temporary suspension. I spoke with Health Commissioner Julie Miller and she deemed we should temporarily suspend their license for now.”
Overholt said the violations in the restaurant were “critical” in nature. He said he could not speak for the fire department and what it might do as far as its inspection but he said there were a lot of things he would like to see done before he passes the restaurant. He would not go into details about the violations but said they did not concern interpretation of the laws or cultural food preparation methods.
“There was no one in charge of the kitchen when we did our inspection,” Overholt added. “The last time they had problems they voluntarily gave up their license so that they could attend classes in proper food preparation. There was no person in charge present and that was one of the recommendations we made before. There was nobody there who was overseeing food safety procedures.”
Overholt said information gathered at the inspections would be turned over to the Knox County Prosecutor’s Office.