Number of sick after eating at Firefly more than doubles
Health District officials say more than 80 people have now reported getting sick after eating at a popular Las Vegas restaurant.
The outbreak happened at the Firefly restaurant on Paradise Road, where authorities on Friday ordered management to close.
Initial reports said 39 patrons reported illnesses earlier this week. But authorities now say that number has more than doubled, Southern Nevada Health District spokeswoman Jennifer Sizemore said.
At least 12 of those patrons have been hospitalized and a number tested positive for salmonella, officials said.
Sizemore could not confirm how many people had the bacteria but said there were enough to make health officials comfortable sourcing the outbreak to the salmonella.
Firefly owner John Simmons said he’s waiting to receive test results from the Health District, which will help reveal the source of the sickness.
“We’re just working hard to figure out what the heck happened,” Simmons said.
Since the Health District announced the outbreak, many customers have continued to call the restaurant to make reservations, Simmons said.
The source of the salmonella, which can cause diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, is unclear. Raw food including chicken and cucumbers can cause an outbreak.
Firefly, meanwhile, has been cited for numerous health-code violations, including the presence of fruit flies and small moths.
Health District inspectors gave the restaurant a total of 44 demerits, three more than the minimum needed to close an eatery.
Alleged violations included:
• An employee handled ready-to-eat foods — garnish — with bare hands.
• An employee put on gloves without washing his or her hands.
• Condensation from a food-storage rack dripped into open containers of food.
• Raw ground beef was stored over cooked chicken and raw seafood.
• Raw fish was stored over cooked chicken.
• Uncovered dried breading mixture was stored close to the floor in a high foot-traffic area.
• A sanitizer bucket was stored on a food preparation surface next to open foods
• Chemical spray bottles were not labeled.
• Several employees used dry cloths instead of sanitizer towels to wipe a cutting board and plates.
• Food was dumped into a hand sink.
• Multiple fruit flies and small moths were observed in the facility.
Between January 2004 and April 2012, the restaurant had 17 routine health inspections. Firefly received mixed results, agency records show.
It received a “C” letter grade three times, a “B” three times and an “A” 10 times. One inspection, on July 17, 2011, prompted the health district to close the restaurant, which reopened the next day with an “A” rating.
Staff Writer Eli Segall and the Associated Press contributed to this report.