Firefighters were called to two major incidents in the space of three hours on Saturday night.
A gas cooker in the kitchen is believed to have sparked a fire at an Indian restaurant in Wentworthville. Staff were unable to extinguish the blaze, which spread into the roof and to an adjoining business.
Almost 30 diners and staff were evacuated safely.
The restaurant was destroyed while the adjoining newsagent at Wenty Mall sustained severe smoke, heat and water damage.
The fire is not being treated as suspicious.
More than 60 firefighters worked on the incident.
“It was an aggressive fire which spread rapidly. If it wasn’t for the early actions of crews, we could have lost the entire shopping centre,” Parramatta duty commander Inspector Kernin Lambert said.
“Crews attacked the fire from several directions in extremely hot, pitch black conditions.”
As crews were finishing up at Wentworthville, they received reports of a barbecue gas cylinder on fire in Hyland Avenue, Toongabbie. The gas cylinder exploded as firefighters arrived at the scene.
A man was taken to hospital suffering severe burns.
Inspector Lambert reiterated calls for people to be vigilant when pulling out the barbecue this summer.
“It’s the start of the barbecue season, where old equipment that hasn’t been used in winter and has been exposed to the elements is being brought out,” he said.
“Check the condition of the equipment, especially connections and hose fittings. We ask people to run soapy water over hoses and fittings and check for bubbling when the gas is turned on as it means there’s a leak somewhere.
“People should only use barbecues in accordance to the manufacturers’ recommendations. Don’t modify the equipment or use it indoors.”
Around 55 firefighters were also called to a building fire at the Victoria Road and Church Street in Parramatta on Sunday night. The fire was in an advanced stage when crews arrived.
It’s understood the commercial building was soon to be demolished.
“It was an abandoned building with boarded up windows, which made it difficult to get hoses into the building,” Inspector Lambert said.
“There was a high risk of the building collapsing.”
The property sustained extensive damage.
As a result of inquiries at the scene, a man, 21, was arrested in a nearby street.
He was charged with damaging a property by fire or explosion causing damage of more than $15,000 and refused bail to reappear in court at a later date.