2 dead in restaurant blaze after waiter 'sets fire to pizza'

Diner says the waiter 'had the plate in flames in one hand, and the blowtorch in the other; he passed by a column of plants and, in a matter of seconds, it burned everything'

By AFP

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Firefighters gather outside a restaurant following a fire, in Madrid, Spain, in this screen grab taken from a handout video. — Reuters
Firefighters gather outside a restaurant following a fire, in Madrid, Spain, in this screen grab taken from a handout video. — Reuters

Published: Sat 22 Apr 2023, 1:26 PM

Last updated: Sat 22 Apr 2023, 5:09 PM

Two people died and ten were injured in a fire sparked when a waiter at a Madrid restaurant flambeed a pizza, accidentally setting decorations ablaze, authorities and local media reported Saturday.

Madrid's Samur emergency services "treated 12 people in this disaster," two of whom died, Montse Marcos, a manager at the organisation, told journalists.


Among the ten injured in the blaze at the Italian restaurant in the west of the Spanish capital Friday night, six were taken to hospital with serious injuries, she said.

Witnesses told the El Pais daily that the waiter had poured alcohol over the dish and set it alight, a French technique known as flambeeing. It is often done tableside to dramatic effect and to give the dish a smoky flavour.


The waiter "had the plate in flames in one hand, and the blowtorch in the other. He passed by a column of plants and in a matter of seconds it burned everything", a diner, who gave her name only as Ruth, told the El Pais newspaper.

According to Spanish media, the waiter was one of those killed, and the other was a patron of the restaurant.

Firefighters were able to respond quickly as their station was only a few hundred metres from the restaurant.

"People came running to the fire station. Our response time was very fast because half of the crew went running and the other half with vehicles," said Madrid fire chief Carlos Marin.



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