Fire at Louies Cafe and Tapas Bar in Invercargill
A duty manager at an Invercargill cafe said "flames just shot up the chimney" before he called emergency services.
Firefighters rushed to Louies Cafe and Tapas Bar on Dee St after fire broke out in the chimney about 4.45pm on Thursday.
Three fire crews responded to the blaze, which was feared to have spread to other parts of the two-storey building.
The duty manager said the fire spread from the cafe's open fire on the ground floor.
"The flames just shot up the chimney. I heard from some people on the street there were flames coming out the top," he said.
The building and nearby shops were evacuated while firefighters mounted a ladder to the roof.
"On arrival, the inside of the building was smokelogged and it appears the fire has spread through at least part of the two-storey building," a Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said.
Firefighters remained on the scene more than an hour after the blaze "to make sure the fire has not spread further", he said.
The cafe's duty manager said he received several calls from nearby businesses after he called emergency services.
"They said, 'are you aware there are flames coming from your chimney?'. I told them we were aware," he said.
Police blocked off a section of Dee St for a time, between Spey and Yarrow streets.
The extent of damage of the building was not known yet, the Fire and Emergency NZ spokesman said.
"They are still investigating the spread of the fire."