Owners of a South Shields restaurant are hoping to reopen soon after the eatery was struck by lightning and caught fire.
The roof of Aneesa’s buffet restaurant, in New George Street, Laygate, caught fire shortly before midnight during Saturday’s storm.
This has come as a massive shock to us all, but fear not, this is not the end and we will be back serving delicious food to the amazing people of South Shields as soon as we can.Aneesa’s spokesman
The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but firefighters believe it was sparked as a result of a lightning strike.
A spokesman for the business took to the restaurant’s Facebook page to thank people for their support.
They said: “Thank you to all our customers, friends and family for our messages of support, we have been truly overwhelmed.
“At 12.15am, we learnt the devastating news that Aneesa’s South Shields was on fire.
“This has come as a massive shock to us all, but fear not, this is not the end and we will be back serving delicious food to the amazing people of South Shields as soon as we can.
“The restaurant will be closed for business until further notice.”
They added: “Finally we’d like to thank the fire officers for the tireless efforts in salvaging what they could.”
Bosses also offered to honour any bookings at their sister restaurant on Newcastle’s Quayside.
Crews from Hebburn, Washington, Wallsend, Sunderland Central, Marley Park and Gateshead were called out to tackle the blaze.
The fire was confined to the roof void. However, the whole of the property was heavily smoke-logged and damaged by water used to put out the fire.
Assistant chief fire officer, Chris Lowther, said: “While it is impossible to predict where lightning will strike, people can protect themselves by having working smoke alarms fitted and having an escape plan in place in the event of a fire.
“It was an extremely busy few hours, but our crews dealt with the high number of incidents very efficiently and in their usual professional manner.”
The storm also caused heavy flooding and prompted other fire crew responses in several areas.