26 Jun 2015

Cafe staff escape blowtorch explosion

6:37 pm on 26 June 2015

Staff at a cafe in central Auckland were lucky to escape with their lives when a blowtorch exploded.


The explosion at Fond Ou on Hobson Street happened around 8am. Photo: RNZ

The explosion at the Fond Ou cafe, on Hobson Street, happened around 8am as food was being prepared for the day.

The front window of the cafe was blown out and between 50 and 100 people staying in the neighbouring Auckland City Hotel were evacuated. No-one was injured.

Owner Jerome Isidro said he was grateful nobody was hurt when his kitchen blowtorch exploded while he was flambéing a chicken.

He said he had used the torch for 15 years without incident.

"Ever since I've worked in the kitchen, we've used it for creme brulees or meringues. The flames just shooted out from all the crevices.

"I knew that already when it went into flame... we have to go out, it's going to blow."

Mr Isidro said the cafe suffered water damage from the sprinklers and they were hoping to reopen again by Sunday.

Firefighters at the scene of the explosion.

Firefighters at the scene of today's explosion. Photo: RNZ/Lauren Baker

Auckland cafe explosion

Photo: RNZ/Lauren Baker