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Blaze rips through Swiss Cottage restaurant

PUBLISHED: 14:24 27 November 2009 | UPDATED: 16:34 07 September 2010

Diners had to down their knives and forks when a fire broke out at a Swiss Cottage restaurant last night. Around 40 firefighters spent nearly four and half hours tackling the blaze at Arabesque on Winchester Road. Although the cause of the fire is still

Diners had to down their knives and forks when a fire broke out at a Swiss Cottage restaurant last night (Thursday).

Around 40 firefighters spent nearly four and half hours tackling the blaze at Arabesque on Winchester Road.

Although the cause of the fire is still unknown it is believed it started in kitchen and travelled through the ducting, which extracts fumes and heat from the restaurant's kitchen.

The fire quickly spread through the ducting from the ground floor to the roof of the terraced building, forcing diners and residents in nearby houses on to the street.

When Winchester Road resident Elaine Chambers heard the first shouts of Fire! she thought it was just youngsters messing around.

She said: "I took no notice because of the feral teenage trouble makers we have recently been subjected to. Then my door bell rang and I could here other door bells being rung which convinced me even more that there was teenage mayhem going on outside.

"Then I smelled burning and looked out if my front window to see, well nothing but smoke, I couldn't see the houses across the road. I rushed straight to my daughter and a guest to tell them to grab a coat and get out I picked up the cat and I too fled the building. We were fortunate as the fire didn't reach here."

Another resident of Winchester Road Sebastian Martienssen said: "I smelt smoke in my room and thought it must be a burning cigarette but I couldn't find one and then looked out of the window and the street was full of smoke. I went outside to see what was going on and saw the restaurant was in trouble."

The Ham&High understands a group of diners at the neighbouring restaurant Bradleys refused to leave the building until they had finished their meals.

A spokeswoman for London Fire Brigade said around a quarter of the second and third floors were damaged by the fire as well as ten percent of the roof of the building.

She added: "The cause of the fire is under investigation."

No one from Arabesque were available for comment.

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