A FIRE investigation is under way after a blaze gutted a Chinese takeaway in Alfreton on Tuesday morning.
Around 25 firefighters spent six hours bringing the flames at the China Town restaurant on King Street under control and making the area safe.
Traffic had to be diverted along Hall Street from 11am until 6pm, while crews from Alfreton, Crich, Claycross, Ripley and Chesterfield fought the fire from a cherry picker and plumes of smoke leapt from the roof of the building.
Luckily no-one was hurt in the blaze.
Alfreton fire station manager Trevor Sherwin, speaking at the scene, said crews were initially informed a family could be trapped in the premises at around 11am, when the 999 call was made.
He said: “When we arrived there was a significant fire in the roof space of the premises.
“However, the firefighters were faced with the prospect that there may be people still inside the building.
“Crews were quickly dispatched to search the first floor of the premises and no-one was found.
“The fire was then attacked from the roof using the aerial fire engine, which brought it under control, to stop the fire spreading to the adjacent premises.”
Mr Sherwin said fire investigation teams would now be working with police to establish the cause of the blaze. A small amount of smoke damage was caused to an adjoining Indian restaurant. A civil engineer called to the scene declared that this building was structurally sound.
However, fire investigators were not able to gain access to the building until 10pm that night because of the danger of falling debris, and almost all of the roof of China Town takeaway had caved in.
The owners of the business were not at the scene on Tuesday, but attempts have been made to contact them.
Tibshelf man Darren Cutts, 24, was the first to raise the alarm at around 10.45am.
He was shopping in neighbouring Cyclamania cycles and accessories store at the time.
He said: “I just heard this crackling noise, when I looked up at the roof there was smoke pouring out.
“I just turned around to a lady at the back of the shop and said - I think we had better call the fire brigade.”
Owner of Cyclamania Sue Millin made the 999 call. She said: “It looked really bad, flames were going right up into the sky.”
Several businesses along King Street were closed off as fire crews tackled the blaze and people in the adjoining buildings were evacuated. Ken Allsop, who co-owns the family-run Curiosity Interiors, directly opposite China Town, watched as four firefighters entered the building wearing breathing apparatus.
He said: “I went to the front door and saw smoke coming out of the roof and immediately rang 999. They said they were already on the way. I must say the fire crew acted really efficiently. Most of the fire appeared to be in the back of the building.”