Vegas restaurant closed after 39 customers sickened - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Vegas restaurant closed after 39 customers sickened

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Firefly on Paradise was closed by SNHD on Friday Firefly on Paradise was closed by SNHD on Friday

A popular Las Vegas restaurant was temporarily closed after 39 people were sickened. The Southern Nevada Health District is conducting a full investigation to figure out what happened at Firefly on Paradise.

"It's diarrhea, vomiting - the typical symptoms that would be associated with a food-borne illness," said Amy Irani, acting environmental health director at SNHD.

Those are just some of the problems experienced by customers after eating at the restaurant last week. The Health District said it was made aware after a customer filed a complaint.

"People have gotten sick here, and we're trying to get to the bottom of it and figure out what happened," said Firefly owner John Simmons.

Simmons told FOX5 he was surprised when health inspectors came to the door at 7 p.m. Friday and shut the place down while customers were eating in the dining room.

On Monday afternoon, a sign on the door only says the restaurant is closed "today." As of Monday evening, there is no indication when this Firefly - which is one of three locations - will reopen.

Records show Firefly received an "A" grade during a routine inspection last year. Now, it has been cited with 44 demerits, including the following violations:

  • Handwashing (as required, when required, proper glove use, no bare hand contact of ready to eat foods). Foodhandler health restrictions as required.
  • Food wholesome; not spoiled, contaminated, or adulterated.
  • PHF (Potentially Hazardous Foods)/TCSs (Temperature Control for Safety) properly cooled.
  • PHF/TCSs at proper temperatures during storage, display, service, transport and holding.
  • Food protected from potential contamination during storage and preparation.
  • Food protected from potential contamination by chemicals. Toxic items properly labeled, stored and used.
  • Handwashing facilities adequate in number, stocked, accessible, and limited to handwashing only.
  • Effective pest control measures. Animals restricted as required.
  • Hot and cold holding equipment present; properly designed, maintained and operated.
  • Accurate thermometers (stem & hot/cold holding) provided and used.

Irani noted that a handwashing violation is the most serious, adding that illnesses like norovirus and salmonella can be very easy to transmit.

The Health District said the restaurant has been cooperative during the investigation.

"This is rare," Irani said. "Since I've taken over as food manager, this is the first time that I've had an outbreak like this that I've had to work with."

Customer Steve Ross stopped by the restaurant Monday, only to find the doors closed. He told FOX5 he dined at Firefly several times last week - and just hours before it was closed.

"To be honest with you - in this town, nothing surprises me, but I'm pretty surprised at this," he said.

Ross didn't get sick, but via Facebook, ‘Christine' told FOX5: "I ate there Wednesday. I was violently ill all thru the weekend... I didn't go to the doctor until this morning."

Simmons and his staff are now working to make the place spotless.

"I want to serve safe food and I want people to know they can trust us," Simmons said.

Samples of food were sent for testing. Those results should be back in the next few days. Until Firefly gets the all clear, it will stay closed.

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