FIREFIGHTERS are continuing work to extinguish the major fire on Castle Street.
Plumes of smoke could be seen across the city centre after the blaze which is understood to have broken out in the TGI Friday restaurant, which has suffered a partial roof collapse.
Police said they had received a call at 12.48pm to a kitchen fire. Staff and residents of the flats above have been evacuated. Parts of Castle Street and Rose Street were cordoned off as a precaution.
Around 50 firefighters attended the blaze, using 10 appliances. First responders arrived from Tollcross Community Fire Station minutes later and found a well-developed fire within the ground floor of the three storey building.
With reports indicating people could be inside the premises, firefighters put on breathing apparatus to begin search and rescue operations while additional crews arrived from across the Capital.
Firefighters surrounded the building and used multiple high-pressure water jets to douse the flames, with some taking up position on turntable ladders to tackle the fire from above.
After a thorough room-to-room search it was confirmed that no-one remained inside the building.
Darrell Wade, chief operating officer at TGI Friday’s, said: “We can confirm that a fire broke out within the property that we occupy on Castle Street in Edinburgh. We immediately evacuated our restaurant and all guests and team members safely left the building.
“We are now working closely with the Edinburgh fire service to help understand the cause of the fire. At this stage the exact cause and location of the breakout is inconclusive.”
A spokeswoman for the Fire service said: “Crews are continuing work to extinguish the fire, which caused extensive damage including the partial collapse of the building’s roof.
“Access to Castle Street was restricted to ensure public safety and allow fire and rescue operations to take place, however part of the street has now re-opened to pedestrians.
“An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident will be conducted by SFRS.”