A Mexican restaurant on Hamilton's main shopping strip has been damaged by fire.

Eight fire crews were called to a blaze at Mexico on Victoria St at 4.45am.

Fire Service northern shift manager Megan Ruru said the fire was contained to the bottom floor of the two-storey building.

There were earlier fears people might be trapped in the upper storey but a search found no one inside the building.


Manager Craig Loveday had the front doors of the restaurant wide open, airing the building, as he looked at the damage when the Herald stopped by today.

He said it was unclear what caused the blaze, which would be investigated by fire safety officers, however he knew they were lucky to have the building still standing.

"It could have been a lot worse," he said.

The fire began in a middle section of the downstairs seating area, near a chimney, which appeared to have suffered moderate damage.

He said Mexico wouldn't be open for lunch today and said it was "unlikely" it would be able to reopen for dinner tonight.

However, he hoped to back in business as soon as possible, once the building's structural integrity and cause of the blaze had been assessed.