At around 11:30am today (18 March 2014) the fire service were called to the Prezzo restaurant on Albert Street following a report of a fire in the extraction ducting from the kitchens.
Albert street was closed and the incident was quickly escalated as further fire engines were requested. The fire was initially tacked by fire-fighters who entered the building wearing breathing apparatus.
Due to the layout of the building they had difficulty in locating the source of the fire. The fire was also spreading in the ducting to other floors of the building.
The fire-fighters withdraw from the building and a new strategy was employed, tacking the fire at the front and the rear of the building. The windows at the front of the building had already started to shatter under the heat and they were further smashed by the fire crews to allow water to be jetted into the building. At this point the situation significantly changed with far more smoke emanating from the building.
Smoke was also starting to come from the first floor of the neighbouring building. This was above the Pizza Express that is part way through a refurbishment.
Crews continued to tackle the blaze above Prezzo and then entered the building on foot above Pizza Express. The windows were again smashed above Pizza Express and further water pumped in by hose.
The fire continued to burn upwards and destroyed the roof area with flames shooting from the roof area.
At its peak around 18 fire vehicles attended along with police and ambulance.