Man ignited in hot pot inferno

By Wei Na Source:Global Times Published: 2012-11-19 0:05:06

Firefighters have cautioned over the use of alcohol-fueled hot pot stoves, after a customer was seriously burnt in a fire caused when a waiter allegedly improperly topped up the fuel.

A diner, surnamed Wang, was injured Friday when flames erupted from an individual hot pot, according to a Sina microblog post from his fellow diner, Wang Xiaolong. 

Wang Xiaolong posted that his friend was in danger of losing his right ear after going up in flames at Deyunzhai, a hot pot restaurant in Zhubang 2000 Mansion, on the East Fourth Ring Road.

He also posted a picture of the victim showing burns to the right side of Wang's face and his burnt clothing.

Another fellow diner, surnamed Liao, told the Legal Mirror that as soon as the waiter lifted Wang's small pot and refilled it with liquid alcohol, his clothes caught fire. Restaurant staff attempted to use water to extinguish the flames, and when this was ineffective, they used a fire extinguisher.

However, the restaurant manager, surnamed Cui, claimed that it was not their waiter who refilled the liquid alcohol, and said staff always follow strict procedures when they do so, the report said.  

On Sunday, Wang Xiaolong could not be reached for comment, but according to his microblog, his friend had undergone surgery and had been given 50,000 yuan ($8,018) by the restaurant.

A firefighter surnamed Xu, from Fengtai firefighting department, warned of the danger of refilling the fuel when the flame is not completely out.

"You can't use water for this kind of fire. They should be put out by being covered by a lid or fire extinguisher," said Xu.

Wang Zhenping, a lawyer from Jintai Law Firm, said the restaurant does have liability.

"Even if it was the customer who did it, the restaurant should take responsibility for allowing the customers to have access to the alcohol and not alerting them to the danger," he said.

On Sunday, Dingding hot pot restaurant on Guanghua Lu, Chaoyang district, which serves hot pots using an alcohol stove, said their staff had received no specific training on how to deal with the fuel. 

"We use iron tongs to take the container out and refill it by following how the experienced waiters do it," said a waitress surnamed Jiang at Dingding.

But at Xiaoshancheng hot pot restaurant on Chaoyang Lu, a manager said they used electric hot pot stoves instead of alcohol-fueled ones due to safety concerns.

On October 30, eight fire trucks attended a fire caused by an alcohol-fueled hot pot eruption at a restaurant in Dongcheng district after fire extinguishers failed to work, reported the Beijing Youth Daily. 

Deyunzhai was closed Saturday, and on Sunday calls went unanswered. 

Posted in: Society, Metro Beijing

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