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Electrical short started Dallas restaurant fire

Wednesday’s three-alarm fire at an Italian restaurant in Dallas started because of an electrical short in the air handling system, a Dallas Fire-Rescue spokeswoman said.

The fire was reported at 2:30 a.m. at the Cremona's Italian Bistro, in the 3100 block of Routh Street, northwest of the downtown area. The damages are estimated at $900,000, Sherry Lopez, spokeswoman for Dallas Fire-Rescue, said.

The crew aboard a Dallas police helicopter spotted the blaze and reported it, Lopez said.

"Within 30 minutes we had it up to three alarms,'' Lopez said. "For a fire to get big enough to see it from a helicopter, it's going to get pretty big pretty quick."

Soon the flames were so intense, firefighters were evacuated from the building. One of them was cut on his forearm, but he was treated and released at Baylor Medical Center, Lopez said.

Electricity was shut off to the block where the restaurant was located, which closed other neighborhood businesses, Lopez said.