Diners were evacuated from a Norwich restaurant this evening after a fire broke out in the kitchen.

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The incident happened at about 7pm at Bella Italia, in Exchange Street, and two fire crews, one from Earlham and one from Sprowston, attended the scene,

North Earlham station manager Duncan Ashworth said: “There was a small fire in a grill in the kitchen.

“The restaurant was full of customers but they were all safely evacuated.”

He said the chef had put a fire blanket over the fire before the arrival of the fire crews, and that once the fire crews arrived the situation was under control within 15 minutes.

He said there was no serious damage to the restaurant.

A spokesman from the restaurant said he was unable to comment but he confirmed that the restaurant would remain closed tonight.

He said it was hoped the restaurant would reopen tomorrow.

Police shut Exchange Street while firefighters dealt with the incident, and reopened the road shortly before 8pm.

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