Firefighters scrambled to the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center early Friday morning after a fire broke out at The Cheesecake Factory restaurant at the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center in Waikiki, according to fire officials.
The fire broke out around 3:23 a.m inside The Cheesecake Factory kitchen.
A restaurant cleaning employee described hearing an explosion and attempted to put out the fire with an extinguisher.
The fire is believed to have started behind a fryer in the kitchen and quickly spread through the ventilation system.
Fire crews arrived on the scene as flames were visible from the fourth floor of the shopping center.
Police shut down Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki while fire crews worked on the flames.
"Honestly, it's heartbreaking -- it's heartbreaking for us," said The Cheesecake Factory employee Natasha Flores.
Crews were able to extinguish the fire by 5:30 a.m. No injuries were reported.
Fire investigators say the cause of the fire was an accidental gas leak to a deep fat fryer. The cause of the leak is undetermined. A pilot light in the appliance was the source of ignition for the leaking gas.
Damage is estimated at $2,500,000. This includes damage to the restaurant's kitchen, exhaust duct and smoke damage to adjacent businesses in the shopping center.
The Cheesecake Factory opened in Waikiki in 2004 and is the top-grossing restaurant in the company's chain.
The road was reopened at around 7 a.m.
The Cheesecake Factory was closed on Friday. No word on when the restaurant will reopen.