WATCH | ‘I'm still in shock’ - patrons watch in horror as fire engulfs popular Sandton restaurant

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    • A fire broke out at the popular The Greenhouse restaurant in Sandton.
    • No injuries were reported.
    • Police opened an inquiry docket for further investigation.

    The popular The Greenhouse restaurant in Sandton, Johannesburg went up in flames at around 22:00 on Saturday, prompting restaurant staff to evacuate the premises.

    Videos started circulating on social media almost immediately.

    Popular local band GoodLuck was performing at the restaurant at the time.

    When News24 contacted the restaurant on Sunday morning, a staff member said a statement would be released later on Sunday.

    Local fitness instructor Jonathan Pooler, 25, told News24 that he and 12 friends were at a table at the restaurant, when he saw someone spraying something in the direction of ornamental branches near to the set where GoodLuck was performing.

    "When I saw the first branch fall, I thought that [it] wasn't a good move for them to spray whatever they spayed on the branches as it sparked the fire. After the one branch fell down, others started falling as well. I immediately told my friends we have to leave," Pooler said.

    Within 30 seconds after the first branch fell, the entire ceiling in that area caught alight, he added.

    Pooler said:

    At the same time, staffers tried to extinguish the blaze that quickly erupted. The entire restaurant was extremely hot. Luckily, they always have doors open, so it was quite easy for all of us to exit the building immediately.

    He said several people still had outstanding bills.

    "I had two tabs opened, which amounted to about R5 000. I couldn't pay as the fire disrupted everything. I'm sure many people never paid bills, which is not our fault," he added.

    Pooler said people filled the parking area outside the restaurant while they watched in horror as the restaurant continued to burn.

    "I've been coming to this restaurant for many years, but this is the first time I've seen something like this happen. I'm still in shock. I heard some staff members locked themselves in the industrial fridges while awaiting the firefighters. I do hope they made it out okay," Pooler said.

    EMS spokesperson Nana Radebe said the first fire alert was received at 22:23, and two fire engines responded.

    PICS | Gauteng restaurant gutted in fire

    "On arrival, the fire had been extinguished, and no injuries or fatalities were reported. The cause of the fire was not investigated as the fire was extinguished by the people from the building," Radebe said.

    Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said police opened an inquiry docket.

    "The cause of the fire cannot be confirmed at this stage. We are still waiting for a report from firefighters and forensic services."

    News24 has tried to reach GoodLuck for comment but the band did not respond at the time of publication.

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