Thai chili sauce sparks London terror scare

From AP, Oct. 3:

LONDON – Super spicy chili sauce sparked road closures and evacuations in central London after passers-by complained that a chemical emanating from a Thai restaurant was burning their throats, police said Wednesday.

Reports of a strong smell wafting from a restaurant in the heart of London’s bustling Soho district Monday prompted the London Fire Brigade to send a chemical response team, a Metropolitan Police spokesman said.

Firefighters closed off roads, sealed buildings and donned special breathing masks to ferret out the source of the acrid smell as onlookers coughed, the Times of London reported.

Smashing down the door of the suspected source – the Thai Cottage restaurant – they seized the culprit: extra-hot bird’s eye chilies that had been left dry-frying.

They were being prepared for a batch of “nam prik pao,” a spicy Thai sauce, restaurant owner Sue Wasboonma said.

“The smoke didn’t go up into the sky because of the rain and the heavy air,” she told the Times. “It’s the hottest thing we make.”

No one was arrested, the police spokesman said, declining to give his name in line with force policy. “As far as I’m aware, it’s not a criminal offense to cook very strong chili.”

Not yet, constable. Not yet.

See our last post on fear in the UK.