WORKMEN on the roof of the McDonalds restaurant in Chester accidentally set it alight with their blow torch.
The blaze brought Chester to a standstill as shops were closed and evacuated, roads closed and areas of the city were cordoned off by police.
Fire crews were called to the blaze at 12.30pm on Monday (October 6) and found the roof of the building on Foregate Street well alight. Smoke could be seen billowing from the back of the building from across Chester.
Crew manager Eric Campbell said: “It appears the builders who were putting tar on the roof at the time and using a blow torch to heat it accidentally set the tar alight. The fire then got out of control, setting the roof on fire.
“We extinguished the blaze and then had to cut into the ducting of the roof to look to see if the fire had spread or if it was smouldering.”
The restaurant was filled with smoke, and ventilation fans had to be used to clear it.
“Five fire engines were called to the scene and a roof and aerial appliance were used to tackle the blaze. The restaurant and the Woolworths, HMV and Boots Chemist shops were evacuated and the lower half of the street cordoned off.
Police used their plane with a thermal imaging camera to look for any heat spots in the building.
The shops surrounding the McDonalds were reopened at 2.30pm.