Blaze rips through top restaurant

Adam Bouabda in the fire damaged kitchen at Portofino
Adam Bouabda in the fire damaged kitchen at Portofino

THE SON of a successful restaurateur has told of his “fright” after a fire ripped through the kitchen of a popular eaterie.

Adam Bouabda, whose dad Krimo owns a number of restaurants in Hartlepool, got a call from police on Thursday morning after the kitchen in Portofino restaurant, on Hartlepool Marina had set alight in the early hours.

Adam rushed to the scene and immediately called Krimo, who is just two days into a holiday in Spain, to tell him what had happened.

The kitchen was severely damaged by the blaze, but luckily it hadn’t spread into the restaurant.

Two fire appliances from Stranton and one from Billingham spent over an hour putting the fire out.

An investigation was launched and it was found that the blaze had started after hot tea towels which were left on a drier had caught fire.

Adam has been left sorting out the insurance details while his father is out of the country, and he admits he is indebted to an unknown security guard who was patrolling the area and reported the blaze.

Adam, 29, who lives in the Throston area of Hartlepool with his fiance, Hayley, 26, said: “It was so frightening.

“I couldn’t believe it when I was told the kitchen had gone up, there are just so many thoughts running through your head.

“I’m just so glad it was caught early.

“I don’t know the security guard who called the fire brigade, but I can’t thank him enough.”

The Mail contacted Krimo in Spain early yesterday morning after the fire had been put out.

He said: “It’s such an awful feeling, fearing that everything you have worked for has gone up in flames.

“It’s very frightening, but luckily it was put out before any more damage was caused.”

Cleveland Fire Brigade confirmed that the cause of the fire was accidental and issued a warning for people to take extra care.

A spokesperson said: “People should let washing machines and dryers finish their cycle, which includes a cooling process, before they take them out.”

A Cleveland Police spokesperson confirmed that a member of the public had called and alerted them of the fire in Hartlepool at around 2.25am on Thursday.

l WERE you the member of the public who called the emergency services or do you know who it was?

If so, contact the Mail’s newsdesk on (01429) 239380.