FRIENDS, family and neighbours have rallied round to help a Southampton business get back on its feet after a fire caused customers to flee its premises.

Café Fumée has lost much of weekend trade after a blaze at Telephone House.

Its losses come after insulation material near the building’s entrance caught ablaze setting off alarms and spewing smoke into the cafe.

Cafe owner Sufian Tarafdar has reported that friends and family have come forward to help get the business open again.

Similarly, neighbours in Telephone House have offered to help and have been “really supportive”.

The 37-year-old added that although nothing was damaged the smell of smoke “is very bad” but it was lucky no one was hurt.

Firefighters from eight different crews rushed to the High Street address to put out the fire which took place at around 3.30pm on Saturday.

The cafe was closed for most of Saturday afternoon and part of Sunday morning as Sufian attempted to get rid of the smell of smoke.

Sufian said: “I was in town and my cousin called to say there was a fire at Telephone House so I ran back. I had 41 missed calls from people telling me what was going on. It was a lucky escape. It could have been a lot worse if no one had been in the cafe no one would have known there was a fire. I have lost trade but, luckily, no one was hurt.”

He added: “There is still a strong smell of smoke but we have been putting things in the cafe back in place. Customers have been coming back slowly. Friends and family have been helping out and everything is now back to normal.”

Sufian’s cousin Syed Rahman, 43, who was working in Café Fumée at the time said: “A customer jumped up and said there was smoke coming into the cafe. We called the fire brigade who spent around an hour trying to find where the smoke was coming from. It smelt really bad. We had to evacuate the building.”

Resident, Neyha Verma said: “I heard the alarm go off and decided to go outside. I could see smoke coming out of the building.”

Another resident added: “I live on the first floor and could smell smoke. I went outside to see what was happening and saw three engines. More arrived soon after. It all happened very quickly. Residents were not sure what was going on.”

According to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services, the fire is believed to have been caused by “discarded smoking materials”.