Smoke billows from Yarmouth restaurant

SMOKE billowed from a Great Yarmouth restaurant this afternoon, bringing one of the resort's busy shopping streets to a standstill.Fire took hold of the kitchen at Gilfreds restaurant in Regent Road forcing the restaurant's owner Fred Bennett, 60 and his wife to evacuate the building from a second floor window shortly before 5pm.

A Great Yarmouth restaurant owner had to be dramatically rescued from his seafront business after a severe blaze damaged his refurbished kitchen this afternoon.

Fred Bennett, 60, and his wife were rescued from the first floor living area above Gilfreds restaurant in Regent Road by firefighters using a ladder.

Dozens of firefighters attended the fire, which resulted in dense plumes of smoke drifting along the seafront and left nearby businesses and residents closing their windows.

The restaurant was closed at the time of the blaze and it is thought it may have been started by some oil in the kitchen whose owner had spent several thousands pounds to refurbish in time for the summer season.

Mr Bennett said he tried to escape down stairs to the kitchen area after he heard the smoke alarm but had to shut the fire exit after being beaten back by the thick yellow smoke rising from the basement.

The fire started at 4.15pm and the scale of the incident led to the Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service sending eight fire engines from across Norfolk and Lowestoft.

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The fire was quickly put out but dense plumes of lingered in the air for at least an hour and half after the blaze.

Smoke was so dense it could be seen all the way from Yarmouth town centre.

The firefighter in charge of the incident group manager Guy McCurley said: “We had a severe fire in the ground floor kitchen area and three floors have been badly smoked damaged.

“The conditions were punishing for the firefighters who went in the kitchen as there was burning liquid, a chance of re-ignition and heavy smoke.