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Fire sears cafe kitchen

- Owner of chocolate heaven hopes to reopen in a week

Jan. 7: Chocolate Heaven — the only chocolate café in the Northeast — at Zoo Road here will remain closed for a week as it was damaged in a fire that broke out inside the outlet this morning.

The fire started around 8am, razed the kitchen and the machines used to prepare the chocolate items and cakes and damaged the shop’s interiors.

The manager of the café, Pranab Boro, and the cook Mukesh Kumar were discussing the day’s shopping when they saw smoke coming out of the kitchen and, subsequently, detected the fire. “We immediately rushed out of the café, called the fire station and informed the owner. Fire tenders reached the spot in about 30 minutes but by then fire had already engulfed the entire kitchen. We could do nothing as the fire spread fast,” Boro told The Telegraph.

Udaiprakash Kanoi owns the café — a franchise of the Mumbai-based Chocolate Heaven — that opened on November 22 on the first floor of a building on Zoo Road. Its chocolate waffles, pancakes, sundaes, choco shakes, Italian hot chocolate, hot and cold coffees, tea and other items have become quite popular among chocolate lovers here.

Sources at the Dispur fire station said they had received a call at 8.30am and had immediately rushed three fire tenders to the spot. “We saw smoke billowing out of the kitchen and though we used water canons to control the fire, the kitchen was already damaged. Another fire tender arrived from Chandmari fire station and it took around one hour to douse the blaze. We had to break the kit- chen’s glass wall to stop the fire from spreading,” a source said.

Fire fighters said an electric short circuit in the kitchen had started the blaze.

The manager said the fire damaged their microwave ovens, mixer-grinder, chocolate-melting machine and other goods. “The machines are costly and all our prepared food items were also damaged in the fire. We are yet to figure out the exact amount of loss but it would be around Rs 30 lakh,” Boro said.

The manager said it would take at least a week to repair the damage and reopen the café. “We will start repairs from tomorrow and hope to reopen after a week. Our Italian hot chocolate and choco shakes are very popular among our customers and people here are liking other items too,” the manager added.