THE DEVASTATED staff at an Italian restaurant which was severely damaged in a fire said it will be closed until further notice.

Benvenuti Belle House shared a statement to its customers saying it was 'absolutely gutted' about the fire which broke out in the early hours of this morning (Tuesday).

Firefighters remain outside the three-storey building in Bridge Street, Pershore, damping down the building.

Neighbours told of their sadness after police banged on doors to evacuate adjoining properties.

Benvenuti Belle House said staff are struggling to contact customers after the fire caused significant damage.

"To our customers at Benvenuti Belle House

"Unfortunately in the early hours of this morning a fire had broken out at the restaurant causing some significant damage, which now means we will be unable to open and will be closed until further notice.

"We are absolutely gutted to be writing this as we were so excited to be welcoming everyone to the restaurant over the festive period.

"We are currently unable to contact those who have booked as we are not allowed inside the restaurant currently.

"We thank you for your continued support and would appreciate your understanding at this difficult time.

"We look forward to seeing you all in 2024 and we hope you all have a lovely Christmas & New Year.

"Thank-You, Team Benvenuti."

Live updates: Fire breaks out at restaurant in Pershore

Firefighters from across Worcestershire and neighbouring counties were called to the blaze.

A spokesperson for the fire service said: "Seven Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service crews – two from Worcester, one from Evesham, one from Upton upon Severn, one from Droitwich, one from Malvern and one from Broadway Fire Stations – plus the aerial ladder platform from Hereford, the incident support vehicle from Droitwich, the Service drone from Ledbury and the environmental protection unit from Tenbury Wells, supported by two Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service crews from Tewkesbury were called at 12.24am on December 19 to a fire with persons reported in Bridge Street, Pershore.

"This was a severe fire involving all floors of a three-storey-building. All persons were accounted for.

"Bridge Street was closed in both directions with police and ambulance also in attendance.

"Gas and electric have been isolated to the building.

"The incident is still ongoing but is now being scaled back with damping down currently in progress."