Freshly-Washed Towels ‘Spontaneously Combust’ Inside Oregon Restaurant

By Zuri Anderson

February 25, 2022

Stove Fire Series
Photo: Getty Images

An Oregon restaurant owner revealed what caused the fire that shut down his restaurant for nearly three months: a towel. Brian Sung, the owner of Brails on West 5th Avenue in Eugene, called it a “crazy one-in-a-million thing” that happened.

"Some crazy one-in-a-million thing happened where some towels that we washed ... every day we wash towels and get them ready for the next day," he told KMTR on Friday (February 25). "So, we brought up the washed, cleaned towels in this room here – and they spontaneously combusted."

Reporters say grease mixed with detergent, sparking a chemical reaction that made the towels go up in flames in December 2021. Even though the fire was small, the smoke damage led to months of repair.

"It took us until now to open because it was a big ordeal," Sung explained. "We had to repaint the whole place. We had to throw away a lot of stuff that couldn't be replaced. We put new tiles up on this backsplash because it got burnt, and the biggest thing was our heating and air unit which was so damaged from the smoke."

The owner thanked the community for their support as they worked to repair the restaurant. Brails reopened on Thursday (February 24).

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