Close Call for Café Fumée After a Fire at Telephone House


A fire broke out on High Street, in Southampton City Centre during the afternoon of Saturday 10th August.

For many in Southampton this weekend, Saturday was a nice, relaxing break from their typical weekday worries. For those in the vicinity of Telephone House and Café Fumée, however, the day was a little alarming after a fire started around 3:30 pm. Syed Rahman, 43, was working inside Café Fumée at the time, and first became aware of the fire after a customer brought it to his attention. He said:

A customer jumped up and said there was smoke coming into the café.

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.

Another Telephone House resident reported,

I live on the first floor and I 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.

Fortunately, all customers were evacuated safely and there was little damage to the building, thanks to the efforts of fire fighters from eight different crews who arrived on the scene almost at once. The café’s owner, Sufian Tarafdar has reported that his business will remain closed for the next few days due to the overwhelming smell of smoke, but that friends and family have come out in a heartwarming show of support to help him get the cafe aired out and running again as soon as possible. He also added that his Telephone House neighbours have been “really supportive.”

According to reports from Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services, the fire is believed to have been caused by “discarded smoking materials” which caused the insulation at the front of the building to catch fire. The blaze was safely put out at 4:20 pm.


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