A popular Cork city centre restaurant has been gutted by fire.
Up to eight diners and 10 staff had to be evacuated from Asian restaurant, Aroi, on Carey’s Lane in the city’s Hugenot Quarter, when a fire broke out in the kitchen area yesterday afternoon just before 12.30pm.
It is believed flames from the grill area in a downstairs kitchen may have flared up into an extractor fan, before being sucked up through the building through ducting.
The fire then spread to a storage area in the roof. The smoke and flames could be seen across the city.
Kitchen staff tried desperately to fight the fire, but restaurant manager Vincent Richard said that it spread quickly up through the ducts.
“We tried to hold the fire, to stop it from spreading, but we couldn’t do much because it was in the ducts,” he said.
Daniel Carey was in an upper-floor office in the building next door when he spotted smoke pouring from an extractor fan on the roof.
“There were flames coming from a chimney and the roof was starting to cook a fair bit alright,” he said.
He and another staff member left their building immediately.
Mr Richard said they decided to evacuate the entire restaurant building and the alarm was raised at 12.36pm.
Five units of Cork City Fire Brigade were on the scene within five minutes.
Neighbouring buildings were evacuated and the lane was sealed off.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus entered the burning building and buildings on either side to tackle the blaze.
It was brought under control quickly but not before substantial damage was caused.
The building’s roof has collapsed and inside there is extensive water and smoke damage.
However, firefighters managed to prevent the blaze from spreading to neighbouring buildings, which suffered some minor smoke damage.
They remained on the scene for several hours dampening down the remains of the roof.
Third officer, Victor Shine, said investigations are now under way to establish the exact cause of the blaze.
Aroi opened in Cork just over two years ago. It is owned by two Limerick-based businessmen who also have another Aroi branch in Limerick.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved