Sprinkler Holds Fire In Check Until Passerby Reports Smoke At East Towne Restaurant
Fire investigators determined this fire resulted from self-heating of deep-fried food product. Restaurant staff report that flour is routinely deep-fried for use in some of their sushi products. After being deep-fried, the flour is left to drain and cool for a day. In this case, the deep-fried flour ignited on its own overnight, resulting in a fire that caused at least $250,000 in damages.
--PIO Cynthia Schuster
A fire at an east-side restaurant was kept in check overnight thanks to an automatic fire sprinkler. It’s unknown how long the fire had been burning before a passerby called 911 at 2:30 a.m. to report smoke in the area.
Engine Company 8 arrived first on scene and began a check of the perimeter surrounding Sumo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar (1745 Parkside Drive). Ladder Company 8 went to the roof of the restaurant and entered the building through a hatch. That’s when they discovered light smoke coming from a kitchen vent.
Engine 8 pulled an attack line and proceeded to the kitchen, where an automatic sprinkler was holding a fire at bay. Engine 8 extinguished the remainder of the kitchen fire. Meanwhile, Ladder Company 1 found additional fire in the kitchen exhaust system and promptly extinguished that fire with a water can extinguisher. Crews performed extensive overhaul to ensure all fire was completely extinguished.
The kitchen suffered significant damage, but without the automatic sprinkler holding the fire in place at a time when nobody was around to report the fire, it is believed the entire building would have been consumed by fire.
Public Health Madison-Dane County was notified of the incident. The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.