MFB crew extinguishing the blaze.
MFB crew extinguishing the blaze. Photo: Getty Images\Chris Hopkins

Chris Hingston

Fifty diners have been evacuated from popular St Kilda restaurant Donovans after fire broke-out on Sunday evening.

The fire reportedly started at the Jacka Boulevard restaurant at 7pm Sunday.

It is understood a pedestrian spotted smoke coming out the restaurant’s roof and alerted staff, who evacuated diners within minutes.

Firefighters battle the blaze at Donovans restaurant.
Fire fighters battle the blaze at Donovans restaurant. Photo: Fergus Wells

Metropolitan Fire Brigade spokesman Steve Aicher said the fire is believed to have started in the roof above the restaurant’s kitchen. 

At least seven trucks were called in to battle the blaze, which was contained at 7.54pm Sunday. He said firefighters managed to stop the fire from spreading throughout the rest of the building. The cause of the blaze was not yet known, Mr Aicher said.

The fire is estimated to have caused more than $400,000 in damage to the property.

MFB Southern District commander Bruce Pickthall said crews had overcome "challenging conditions", with flames fanned by sea breezes coming off the bay. While the restaurant's roof had been significantly damaged, the building could be repaired, Mr Pickthall said.   

"It's a good outcome, given that the Stokehouse was only a hundred metres up the road, we have been fortunate enough to have saved one of St Kilda's iconic buildings", he said.

He said 50 per cent of the roof had been "substantially damaged by fire", with the roof having partially collapsed near the kitchen.

The iconic Stokehouse restaurant was destroyed by a fire in January this year.

Other St Kilda beachfront buildings destroyed by fire include the St Kilda Pier kiosk in 2003 and the Palace nightclub in 2007.

Donovans is located on the site of one of three original bathing houses built on the St Kilda foreshore in the 1920s. The bathing house was refurbished and opened as a restaurant in 1986.

There were no reports of injuries during the incident.

Police closed off Jacka Boulevard to traffic from Cavell Street to Beaconsfield Parade.