‘Fingers crossed’ after restaurant fire

Firefighters rip open the roof of popular Dunedin restaurant No7 Balmac to battle a blaze there...
Firefighters rip open the roof of popular Dunedin restaurant No7 Balmac to battle a blaze there on Saturday. Photos: Linda Robertson/Marjolein Schaddelee
passers-by peer through windows at No7 Balmac to view the fire damage yesterday morning.
passers-by peer through windows at No7 Balmac to view the fire damage yesterday morning.
Flames spurt from the roof.
Flames spurt from the roof.

A blaze which swept through the ventilation system of a popular Dunedin restaurant at the weekend caused significant damage to the building, but its owner is hopeful it could reopen within about six weeks.

Emergency services were called to No7 Balmac restaurant in Balmacewen Rd about 12.50pm on Saturday where crews battled a "well-involved fire". Seven fire trucks attended at the peak of the fire, which was contained by about 2.30pm. The fire was mainly in the roof, large parts of which  were removed to allow firefighters access. The restaurant was evacuated during the busy lunch service and no-one was injured.

No7 owner Katrina Toovey said there was no charring inside the restaurant, and the damage was mainly behind the walls.

However, the building was "extensively water-damaged" and there was structural damage to the roof.

"The insurers have been through, but we are not completely sure [of the extent of the damage] quite yet," she said.

A fire investigator had inspected the  building  and she was awaiting an engineer’s report. Ms Toovey had no timeframe for the repair work, saying "fingers crossed" it could reopen in about six weeks’ time. She was unsure how much the repair work would cost, but said the business was fully insured.

All staff were being "looked after" and would be kept on. People had been "fantastically understanding", with members of the local community even offering to help cook for the customers on Saturday afternoon, in neighbouring Coronation Hall.

"It was pretty above and beyond."

Marjolein Schaddelee, who lived nearby, said she saw smoke, and then flames coming out of the chimney.

"It was a bit too close for comfort."

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz 

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