Teams investigating Sunderland's Dixy Chicken fire say blaze is 'not believed to be suspicious'
A fire which ripped through a Sunderland chicken shop is not believed to have been started deliberately - but a full investigation into the cause will be carried out.
More than 20 firefighters tackled the blaze which gutted Dixy Chicken, in Holmeside, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
It is not currently known how long investigators will need to determine the cause of the fire.
A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue today said: "A joint investigation between the TWFRS's fire investigation team and a private fire investigating team, acting on behalf of the company, is taking place at the moment to establish the cause of the fire.
"At this time it is not believed to be suspicious but a full investigation will be carried out to determine the cause.
"Officers are in the Holmeside area today speaking to other businesses. They will be offering advice and guidance on fire prevention."
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's business fire safety team are in the city centre today to give out advice and guidance on fire prevention.
Chris Lane, of TWFRS business fire safety team, said: "We're at Holmeside in Sunderland following the devastating fire in Dixy Chicken.
"We're here to give the safety advice to the local business community.
"Should your business need additional the safety advice please visit www.twfire.gov.uk/"
It's the second devastating fire in the city centre in two months after Peacocks, in Blandford Streeet, was completely destroyed in a massive blaze.
The remains of the site - less than 200 metres from Dixy Chicken - have now been demolished.
Firefighters spent almost three hours battling yesterday's blaze before it was extinguished. Crews were initially called at around 2.40am yesterday.
A fractured gas main made it difficult to bring the blaze under control as brave crew members wearing breathing apparatus spent a 'considerable time' searching the building for any occupants.
At it's peak five fire engines and one aerial ladder platform and 24 firefighters were called to tackle yesterday's blaze.
Group manager Richard Rickaby described blaze as a difficult fire to fight and praised teams for their efforts.
He said: "It was a multi-agency operation so we had the ambulance, police, electricity board and the gas board here. It was a great operation where everyone worked together.
"I'd like to thank and commend the firefighters for dealing with such a difficult fire."