(Gray News) - Seven sushi restaurants around the country have caught on fire.
A reaction between oxygen and oils used in tempura batter caused fires in five Wisconsin restaurants. (Source: Wochit)
Investigators discovered that the fires were caused by spontaneously combusting tempura flakes.
This happened at five different sushi restaurants in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota and Virginia.
The fires were caused by a food preparation technique wherein oil used to make a tempura-like “crunch” self-heats and spontaneously combusts, according to a statement by the Madison Fire Department.
The tempura flakes are created by putting splatters of batter in vegetable or soybean oil and taking the little pieces out and the restaurants would have them cool in a bowl. Because the flakes are in a confined space together in the bowl, that allows the oils to self-heat back up which then causes the combustion.
Sumo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar and Takara Japanese Restaurant had two of the worst fires with a combined total of $575,000 in damages.
The Madison Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Division created a “Fire Hazard” bulletin which describes the chain of events that leads to the phenomenon to hopefully raise awareness of this trend and prevent additional similar fires.
Let’s hope your favorite local sushi spot is take the proper precautions when it comes to making tempura “crunch.”
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