Embers start fire in Tamworth pizza shop

A QUICK-THINKING passer-by helped avert a disastrous fire scenario yesterday that could have potentially taken out a whole Tamworth city block.

The girl alerted Fire and Rescue NSW to a fire at Red Embers pizza parlour in Peel St at 1.50am yesterday.

The shop owner's neighbour's daughter noticed the shop was on fire, dialled 000 and alerted the shop's owners, Vince and Elizabeth Tusa.

A pumper and tanker from the Tamworth Fire Brigade and a pumper from the West Tamworth brigade attended.

Tamworth Fire Brigade retained firefighter Rosalie Lukins said it looked like the fire started in the wood-fired oven or nearby.

"In that area, whether it started there or behind it," Mrs Lukins said.

Tamworth police Sergeant Martin Burke said detectives attended the fire. He said, at this stage, the fire was not deemed suspicious but investigations were continuing.

Mrs Lukins said the fire was put out by 2.30pm.

"We were cleaning up for probably another hour afterwards, just checking for hotspots," she said.

Mr Tusa said there had been no structural damage and the shop would reopen later this week.

When The Leader spoke to him yesterday morning at the shop, the plyboard roof above the wood-fired oven was burnt away.

He said it looked like embers had also been blown onto nearby spots on the roof, as there were spots of damage all around the ceiling near the oven.

He said there had been "smoke damage, water damage" and that the shop would reopen on Thursday or Friday.

Firefighters gained access to the shop by smashing the bottom panel of its glass front door.

Mr Tusa said because of the extreme heat experienced in the past few weeks, he had removed the glass window near the oven's chimney outlet on the side of the building and had bought fans, to allow better air flow and to let the heat escape the shop.

No one was hurt in the blaze: the shop had shut at 11.30pm and no one was in the premises when the blaze broke out.

"It could have been worse could have been totally burnt out and a couple of dead people," Mr Tusa said.

It was unfortunate it had happened at festival time, he said.

"Not the best time of year," Mr Tusa said.

But he said it was "only superficial damage nothing we can't fix up and get going again".

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