Portland Tofu Home Explosion Is Hipster Mystery of the Year

On a sidewalk in the heart of Portland's Old Town, sobbing inconsolably in front of the ruins of her kitchen, a woman squatted on the curb, waiting for Portland firefighters to arrive. Her tofu pan, she told them when they came, had just exploded.

So begins a mystery that in less than 48 hours has stumped everyone from veteran firefighters to federal ATF agents.

According to the Portland Fire Bureau, firefighters responded to an apartment on the 300 block of Northwest Fifth Avenue around 8:15 p.m. on Sunday and found the residence's tenant outside crying. She told them that she had been cooking tofu in her oven and then went to rinse the hot pan in water when a tremendous explosion rocked the house, blasting out the windows onto the street below and burning her hand in the process.

Her story seemed odd, but after a thorough initial investigation, no could seem to figure out what happened.

"In my 30 years of experience I've never seen anything like this," Portland Fire Bureau spokesman Paul Corah tells Seattle Weekly.

tofu explosion01.jpg
Portland Fire Bureau

tofu explosion02.jpg
Portland Fire Bureau
Luckily, the vintage record player was undamaged.

Corah says that in addition to his own agency, the ATF has also become involved in the investigation, as is standard procedure in the case of an explosion. Even the feds, however, don't seem to have any clue what caused the kitchen to go boom.

"No one really knows what happens," he says, before explaining another possible cause being investigated. "We don't know if it was some kind of steam explosion. But it would have to be huge to blow out the windows like that."

He says that no drug-cooking evidence was found in the kitchen and that some common kitchen fire starters like dust explosions and flour explosions have already been eliminated as causes.

Corah says that the ATF is suggesting that the firefighters recreate the explosion scenario at a fire laboratory in Kentucky, but he's not sure if they bureau will go that far.

In the meantime, amateur forensic investigators and bean curd advocates are invited to send their theories to the Independent Film Channel, C/O Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.

Follow The Daily Weekly on Facebook and Twitter.

comments powered by Disqus