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Tempura-like 'crunch' preparation to blame for fires at Madison restaurants

Posted at 5:03 PM, Jul 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-16 18:03:52-04

MADISON — Firefighters believe a popular sushi topping is to blame for spontaneous fires at two different Madison restaurants.

The tempura-like crunch sushi topping is fried in cooking oils then placed in a container to drain and cool, according to a release by the Madison Fire Department. Cooking oils, such as soybean and canola, can self-heat under certain circumstances. Investigators believe the crunch is placed in a bowl, which limits the ability for heat to dissipate, thus creating the perfect conditions for a fire.

This has been ruled to be the cause of the April 5 fire at Sumo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar and the May 10 fire at Takara Japanese Restaurant, according to the release. There was a combined total of $575,000 in fire damage.

Investigators believe five other restaurants in Wisconsin have sustained similar fire damages due to this food preparation.