Just two days after Melbourne’s two-week lockdown ended – and hospitality was finally able to reopen for dine-in service – a fire ripped through the Leonardo’s Pizza Palace kitchen. And it’s caused the beloved Carlton pizzeria to close “indefinitely”.

What the team suspects was an electrical fire took hold around 8pm on Sunday night, leading the fully booked venue to be evacuated. While nobody was injured in the blaze, substantial damage was done to the roof, pizza oven and other kitchen equipment.

A spokesperson for Fire Rescue Victoria confirmed the incident with Broadsheet: “Ten FRV firefighters attended an incident in Carlton on Sunday evening. A caller to triple zero (000) reported a fire in a restaurant on Grattan Street at 7.53pm.”

“The fire was declared under control at 8.12pm. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.”

In a statement, Leonardo’s co-owner Guy Bentley said: “We are lucky no-one was hurt. If the fire had got further into the roof, we could have lost the whole thing.”

“It was a really great weekend – people were out and about and then to have this happen just days after we open up again is pretty heartbreaking.”

While he says insurance should cover some of the damage, the Leonardo’s team is appealing to Melburnians to help support its staff. “It is our staff welfare which is of main concern,” said Bentley. “We have 21 staff who have just spent two weeks on reduced hours due to lockdown and now we don’t know when we can operate again.”

As a result, a Go Fund Me campaign has been set up with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to the staff, the page reads. Limited-edition merch, available to buy from June 16, will also be sold as a way of lending the staff a helping hand during an already challenging time for hospo workers.

Donate to the Go Fund Me page here and buy merch here.

leonardospizzapalace.com.au