Firefighters battle shop blaze at Warrawong

A man is thanking his lucky stars after a phone call woke him from his sleep, allowing him to escape as a fire ripped through the kebab shop downstairs.

The fire destroyed the Kebab Express Cafe 2000 on Cowper St as well as the AJC Engraving store next door, about 1pm on Friday.

The fire started in the engraving shop, the Mercury has confirmed, before spreading rapidly next door.

The newsagent on the other side of AJC was also badly damaged, largely by smoke.

As fire fighters extinguish the blaze, the people affected and their families crowded in the carpark, helpless to save any belongings.

The building’s owner watched on in silence.

Kebab Express Cafe 2000 worker Akin Gonuk, 46, said he and a co-worker were shocked at how fast it all happened.

“The smoke came very, very dark, it came down,” he said. “We turned off the gas, turned everything off inside, and ran.

“Everything’s inside – wallets, phones. But the place is insured.”

Owner Dilaver Yildirim said it would be many months before he and his six employees were able to resume working there.

AJC Engraving’s owner was consoled by neighbours. He confirmed the fire started in his shop but declined to comment further. 

No-one was hurt in the fire, thanks to the quick thinking of an unknown saviour who called the man who was known to be living upstairs. The man was still visibly shaken an hour later and did not want to talk about his escape.

Police were investigating how the fire started.