A fire broke out in a TGI Friday's restaurant in midtown Manhattan last night. The FDNY says the fire started in the basement of 604 5th Avenue at 48th Street, where the kitchen is, just before 9 p.m. Friday. Then, as WCBS 2 reports, "Flames and smoke raced to the top of the building through the duct work."

According to NBC New York, "There appeared to be some sort of malfunction while crews were working on a duct in the basement, and a fire was sparked, quickly shooting through the duct up to the roof, where it spread to a connecting duct in the building next door."

Numerous blocks around the restaurant were shut down so firefighters could battle the blaze. The smoke and fire could be seen from great distances—here's a photo taken from Long Island City:

A Friday's busboy told the Daily News, "It started over the grill. It shot right up the wall. It was flame and smoke everywhere." Another employee added, "It was hell."

On the other hand, for tourists, the fire was a real treat. From the Post:

“There were a lot of hot firemen,’’ said Lori Gagula, of Houston. “What more could we ask for?’’

Her pal, Lisa Hutchison, said: “It was awesome. I thought we were walking up on a movie shoot.’’

Robert Herring of North Carolina, said, “I’ve never seen anything like this before.
“Where I come from we don’t have skyscrapers — or ladder trucks.’’

He was looking forward to telling some real New York stories to his friends back home.

“I especially enjoyed getting chewed out by the cops for crossing their police tape,’’ he said.

The fire was finally under control by 11 p.m. One firefighter suffered a minor injury.