A bride-to-be has praised staff at a city restaurant for the way they dealt with a fire which broke out in the venue’s kitchen.

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Georgina Blaydes was enjoying her hen party with 17 friends and family at the Bella Italia restaurant, in Exchange Street, when the drama unfolded on Saturday night.

Twenty-four-year-old Miss Blaydes, who is getting married to Damion Spencer, 25, on October 29, said: “Drinks had been served and we were just waiting to order our food when we all said we could smell burning. Next thing we knew we had been asked to vacate the building.

“Grabbing all our drinks and bottles we quickly rushed outside, and once we knew that nobody inside was hurt the banter began with the other customers.

“Everyone thought it was hilarious that we were on a hen night and two truck loads of fireman come to our rescue!”

Miss Blaydes, who had her picture taken with the firefighters as a souvenir of her dramatic hen night, said she was very impressed with how quickly and efficiently the Bella Italia staff organised another table for her party at the chain’s Red Lion Street restaurant, and she said one of the Exchange Street waitresses escorted them there and they were given complimentary drinks.

“All the staff at both restaurants were a credit to the company. We would highly recommend going to Bella Italia, the food was lovely and the staff were great,” said Miss Blaydes, a beauty therapist from Essex, who was visiting Norwich especially for her hen weekend.

“It was definitely a hen night to remember!”

Two fire crews were sent to the restaurant after the small fire broke out in a grill in the kitchen at about 7pm on Saturday. The building was evacuated safely and no serious damage was caused. Following the fire, the restaurant was closed for the remainder of Saturday evening but reopened on Sunday.

• Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk




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