Spontaneously combusting sushi flakes blamed in mystery blazes in US

This undated image released by the St. Paul, Minnesota, field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) shows the charred remains of a sushi kitchen in Madison, Wisconsin. (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives handout via AFP)
Updated 17 July 2019

Spontaneously combusting sushi flakes blamed in mystery blazes in US

WASHINGTON: A series of freak fires at sushi restaurants in the United States have been blamed on an unusual culprit: a deep-fried ingredient that, if not handled properly, spontaneously combusts.
Firefighters in the city of Madison, Wisconsin say two fires at local Japanese restaurants earlier this year were caused by chefs deep frying flour to make a tempura-like coating called “crunch,” then leaving it to cool.
“Cooking oils, especially soybean oil and canola oil, are known to have a propensity to self-heat under certain circumstances,” the Midwestern city’s fire department said in a safety bulletin.
“Because the ‘crunch’ product is heated during the cooking process, then placed in a bowl or colander to cool and drain, the ability for the heat to dissipate is compromised. These conditions can create an environment for a fire to occur,” the bulletin continued.
The two fires in Madison caused at least $575,000 in damage, and investigators blame “crunch” for at least five other blazes that they’re aware of.
Seeking to forestall future infernos, the fire department recommended spreading the ingredient out on a flat surface like a baking sheet to keep it from catching fire.


Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

Updated 19 August 2019

Alaska man discovers 50-year-old message in bottle from Russian Navy

  • Then Russian Navy Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko wrote the letter when he was a 36-year-old aboard the Sulak
ANCHORAGE, Alaska: A man discovered a 50-year-old letter in a bottle from the Russian Navy on the shores of western Alaska.
Tyler Ivanoff found the handwritten Russian letter early this month while gathering firewood near Shishmaref about 600 miles (966 kilometers) northwest of Anchorage, television station KTUU reported.
“I was just looking for firewood when I found the bottle,” Tyler Ivanoff said. “When I found the bottle, I had to use a screwdriver to get the message out.”
Ivanoff shared his discovery on Facebook where Russian speakers translated the message to be a greeting from a Cold War Russian sailor dated June 20, 1969. The message included an address and a request for a response from the person who finds it.
Reporters from the state-owned Russian media network, Russia-1, tracked down the original writer, Capt. Anatolii Prokofievich Botsanenko, KTUU reported.
He was skeptical he wrote the note until he saw his signature on the bottom.
“There — exactly!” he exclaimed.
The message was sent while the then 36-year-old was aboard the Sulak, Botsanenko said. Botsanenko shed tears when the Russian television reporter told him the Sulak was sold for scrap in the 1990s.
Botsanenko also showed the reporter some souvenirs from his time on the ship, including the autograph of the wife of a famous Russian spy and Japanese liquor bottles, the latter kept over his wife’s protests.
Ivanoff’s discovery of the bottle was first reported by Nome radio station KNOM.