Up to 90 firefighters have today helped tackle a blaze which started in a restaurant kitchen in central Harrogate.

The fire broke out in Prezzo in Albert Street just after 11.30am, a spokesman for the fire service said.

It spread to four flats above the restaurant and caused smoke damage to several others. 

Firefighters stopped the fire spreading to next door properties.

No one was believed to be injured but several pets - a hamster, rabbits and cats - "are unaccounted for". 

The incident will be scaled down further in the next couple of hours, however crews will remain on scene overnight damping down hotspots, a North Yorkshire Fire Service spokesperson said.

Neighbouring businesses and homes were evacuated. 

At its peak a total of 18 fire engines and 90 firefighters were at the scene as well as an aerial ladder platform from Harrogate with another requested to attend from York.

A North Yorkshire Fire Service spokesman said earlier today: "Please be careful if you are driving through Harrogate as the smoke from the fire is affecting visability. Nearby residents and businesses may wish to keep their doors and windows closed."