Technician’s eyebrows presumed missing after gas explosion at Caplansky’s Delicatessen
Caplansky’s Delicatessen was closed yesterday, and officials crowded its College Street space after a technician set off a small fireball while trying to install a fryer. Zane Caplansky writes on the restaurant’s blog that the technician got burned and, amid the panic, used the fire extinguisher, then ran onto the street. Firefighters arrived, and soon the police, EMS, Toronto Public Health, the Ministry of Labour and Technical Standards and Safety Authority arrived to see if the technician who fled was OK. Eventually, the fryer vendor who hired the technician came to the restaurant and told the police that he installed the fryer himself. The cops promptly arrested him for obstruction. “Seeing your kitchen equipment guy being cuffed in your dining room and led away by the police is an experience I never imagined I’d have,” writes Caplansky. “And I’m not grateful for it.”
Due to powder residue from the fire extinguisher, the kitchen had to shut down for the day. We called Caplansky for an update this morning as he was waiting for the health inspector to lift the closure order. “It was one of those totally random things that set off a chain reaction,” he says. “It wasn’t a giant explosion, though. The firefighters called it a puff of fire, but it still singed the technician’s hair and eyebrows.”
He also says that the mini-fireball happened at 10 a.m., so there weren’t any customers in the restaurant by the time it was filled with emergency service officials. As for the guy who ran off and is probably missing a pair of eyebrows, Caplansky says he doesn’t know what happened to him. “It’s upsetting that someone was injured and the possibility that he wasn’t properly licensed,” he says. The fryer has been reinstalled by another, presumably certified, technician, and the place is ready to open for lunch.
“What a crazy day. It’s a reminder that we work in an industry with all sorts of dangers around us.”