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More than 20 patrons of the Oyster Cove restaurant at Stirling Point, Bluff, had to be evacuated after a fire broke out in the laundry at the rear of the building this afternoon.
Owner Ross Jackson, who was not at the restaurant at the time, said his wife, Lynda, evacuated patrons about 3.30pm and waited until firefighters arrived on three appliances. A fire rescue unit also attended.
Firefighters donned breathing apparatus and removed roofing iron to check above the laundry. Mr Jackson said he believed the fire may have started in a dryer.
He said he had not been inside the restaurant since the fire but expected there would be smoke damage in the main part of the building as well as more serious damage to the laundry.
No-one was injured in the blaze.