A Norwich restaurant has today reopened following a fire which broke out on Saturday night.

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The fire at Bella Italia, in Exchange Street, happened on Saturday evening at about 7pm when the restaurant was full of people enjoying a night out who all had to be evacuated.

The restaurant remained closed last night following the fire, but it reopened today and is back to business as usual.

Firefighters were alerted to the fire at about 7pm yesterday and two crews, one from Earlham and one from Sprowston, were sent to 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.

The firefighters used hose reels and a hand appliance and foam extinguisher to put the fire out.

Mr Ashworth said the fire had not caused any serious damage to the restaurant.

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

Following the fire, a spokesman from the restaurant said he was unable to comment but he confirmed that the restaurant would remain closed for the remainder of Saturday night.

The Exchange Street restaurant is one of three Bella Italias in the city - the other two are based at Riverside and Red Lion Street.

• Were you one of the diners evacuated after the fire broke out? Email reporter Emma Knights at emma.knights@archant.co.uk

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