Investigators: Restaurant fires caused by sushi ingredient

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Madison Fire Department says the spontaneous combustion of a sushi ingredient is being blamed for two separate restaurant fires.

Authorities tell Wisconsin Public Radio that an April 5 fire at Sumo Steakhouse and Sushi Bar and another May 10 at the Takara Japanese Restaurant both started after deep-fried tempura flakes caught on fire.

The ingredient is used to add crunch to some sushi rolls. But heat generated from the process can build to the point that the crunchy, cooked batter can ignite.

Authorities say surveillance footage and other evidence confirmed the source at the Sumo restaurant.

Fire investigator Kara Nelson says her department is seeking to get the word out to prevent future sushi fires.

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