A RESTAURANT was evacuated and remains closed “until further notice” after a fire broke out.

Diners were rushed out of the Basildon Beefeater, the Watermill, in East Mayne, on Sunday after smoke was spotted coming out of the building.

The fire service has confirmed that the blaze began on external cladding before spreading to the roof space.

An unnamed source told the Echo the restaurant remains closed “until further notice” but that “everyone got out safely and is ok” after the fire.

Videos on social media showed dozens of customers gathered in the restaurant car park as firefighters battled to bring the blaze under control and stop it spreading.

Small flames were also visible at the front of the building as smoke billowed into the sky.

The fire broke-out at roughly 3.36pm on Sunday and was fully extinguished roughly and hour later.

Julie Billings Gill, who was eating at the restaurant at the time, said: “We went there for lunch and about half way through our meal the fire alarm went off, we were just thinking it was a fire drill.

“Then we got asked to leave, and as we left the restaurant we could see smoke filling the bar area so it was obvious there was a fire.

“When we came out we could see a small fire coming through the wall. We stood in the car park and the fire engines turned up and started trying to put it out.

“All the staff were fantastic in seeing everyone to safety.”

Following the fire, the restaurant remained closed for the remainder of Sunday and was closed throughout yesterday.

Stuart Terson, Conservative councillor responsible for Pitsea North West ward, said: “I understand that everyone was evacuated, and no one was injured which is the main thing.

“I hope they are able to re-open as soon as possible as it is a well-loved restaurant and pub.

“And one that I personally love eating at a lot too.”

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “Firefighters were called to a fire at a restaurant in East Mayne, Basildon at 3:36pm on Sunday.

“On arrival, three crews reported external cladding was on fire and had spread to the roof space.

“Firefighters worked to extinguish the fire by 4:45pm.”

At this stage, it is unclear when the restaurant will re-open and how severe the damage is.

The Beefeater has been contacted for comment for Echo.