FIRE broke out at a popular city takeaway in the early hours of the morning.
Police are now appealing for witnesses after the blaze at Monsoon Spice, in Bede Street, off Roker Baths Road, Sunderland.
Firefighters had to force entry through the rear of the single-storey building just after 3.10am on Saturday.
They found the blaze had started behind the front door of the takeaway, leaving the shop front and kitchens filled with smoke.
Flames and smoke scorched the doorway and behind the shop’s roller shutters, while the rest of the building was smoke-damaged.
No one was in the building at the time of the blaze.
Crews from Sunderland East and North stations spent about an hour at the scene.
One person, who did not want to be named, said: “It was a shock when I saw the firefighters outside the shop. It’s a real shame that this has happened.”
Detectives are investigating the cause of the fire.
A spokeswoman for Northumbria Police said: “Police received a call at 3.30am from the fire service saying there was a fire at Monsoon takeaway.
“The fire caused damage to a doorway, as well as some smoke damage. Inquiries are ongoing to establish the cause of the fire.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at Southwick on 03456 043043, extension 69191.”