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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 February 2008, 19:03 GMT
Fire hits historic Barbican area
Plymouth Gin Distillery fire
Plumes of smoke can be seen from across the city
Firefighters have been tackling a blaze at a restaurant in Plymouth's historic Barbican area.

Emergency services were called to the fire at a restaurant in the Plymouth Gin Distillery in Southside street at about 1600 GMT.

Devon and Cornwall Police said the restaurant was evacuated and the surrounding area closed.

Residents were moved from their homes in nearby Hoegate Street. No-one was trapped or injured in the fire.

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said eight fire engines, including an aerial platform were deployed.

Crews found fire in a first floor kitchen, extractor trunking and possibly in the roof of the three-storey building which houses the Plymouth Gin distillery and the Barbican Kitchen Brasserie, run by the Tanner brothers.

Fire commander Pete Smith told BBC News the fire was under control, but crews would remain damping down and watching for hotspots to ensure the fire did not take told again.

He said the fire had caused extensive damage, but most of the distillery building had escaped.

Eyewitness Fay Jones said massive plumes of smoke had been seen coming from the distillery.

The cause of the fire is not known.

Black Friars distillery has been the working home of the world famous Plymouth Gin since 1793.

The building dates back to the early 15th Century and was formerly a monastery of Black Friars.

Roads surrounding the area are likely to remain closed for some time.

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