A main street restaurant will be forced to close until considerable repairs to fire damage can be completed, police say.
Acting Inspector Geoff Bills from Albury Police said teppanyaki restaurant Zen X suffered considerable damage from the grease fire that quickly spread through the building during dinner service on Tuesday March 7.
"Kitchen staff and the chef of the restaurant indicated the blaze was accidentally caused when the chef exposed oil to the cooking plate, which caused flames to rise to the extraction system," Acting Inspector Bills said.
"They had to evacuate all the patrons and staff."
Dean Street was closed between Olive and David Streets for several hours to allow access to emergency services.
Firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control within 30 minutes, with a ladder truck required to extinguish the fire on the roof.
The restaurant is located nearby to popular night spots such as The Bended Elbow, from which witnesses described seeing smoke from the street and flames coming from the roof.
Faye and Peter Follett revisited the fire site on Wednesday after seeing some of the commotion the night before. After a meal at The Commercial Club, they said they followed the flashing lights of multiple fire trucks down Dean Street to see what was happening.
"We saw the blue flashing lights where the police were blocking off the street," Mr Follett said. "There were hoses out and ladders on the roof, but the fire was out by then."
"We followed it like moths to a flame," Mrs Follett said.
Acting Inspector Bills confirmed the fire didn't cause damage to any individuals or businesses other than Zen X. On Wednesday morning it was business as usual for the Telstra store and dumpling restaurant Hapi on either side of Zen X.
However, from the parklet opposite, the smell of fire distinctly and frequently caught the air.
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"It will probably take them a while to get rid of the smell before they can open again," Mr Follett said.
Acting Inspector Bills said Zen X would have to stay closed for some time due to the extent of damage, particularly to the roof cavity.
"Fire and Rescue NSW and police recommended no-one to enter the building as the roof could give way at any time," Acting Inspector Bills said.
"There will be a lot of repairs. There is no investigation though because there were plenty of witnesses."
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