A gas hob left on in a restaurant overnight caused the evacuation of a building in central Dunedin.

Firefighters were called to lower Stuart St because of fears of a gas leak this morning.

A New Zealand Fire Service spokesman said crews could smell gas, and police cordoned off the area.

Senior station officer Rob Torrance said a Cafe Rue staff member left a gas hob on in the restaurant in Moray Pl overnight.

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"It was human failure. I've talked to the owner and they are quite robust about how they check things and I guess it was just missed last night."

The cordons were removed about 9.30am.