Two busy main streets in the capital were closed after a large fire at a travel agent.
The blaze broke out at Thomas Cook on Hanover Street just after 3pm on Thursday and the smoke plume could be seen around the city.
After spreading into the roof of the travel agent, it also spread to a two-storey building at the back which houses the New York Steam Packet restaurant.
At one point, around 60 firefighters were battling the flames and support staff were also on the scene.
A staff member at a neighbouring restaurant told STV News they evacuated diners when smoke started to appear in their premises.
Richard Beattie said: "We didn't think it was that bad to begin with and kept on serving for another five or ten minutes because it was just a little bit of smoke. We thought it would be put out quickly.
"When we saw flames on the roof we got everybody out. The smoke started coming into the restaurant, both on the ground floor and even in the staff area in the basement. You could see the flames coming out of the top above Thomas Cook."
He added he had been told it could be up to a week until his workplace was reopened.
Mr Beattie said: "My manager said it would probably take a week or so to reopen it. They have to bring people in to look at the structure and then we can get inside and see what damage has been done."
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said the flames broke out on the ground floor of the shop and spread to the roof space. Fire crews had to use breathing apparatus to get inside the building.
Crews expressed concerns the blaze could spread through crevices and other hidden spaces inside the old buildings.
Workers in the surrounding buildings were evacuated, including some on George Street and Rose Street.
As well as eleven fire engines, the service had a height appliance, command support unit and fire investigation unit on the scene.
A firefighter suffered a minor injury to his finger while tackling the blaze.
At 7pm, a spokesman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue said officers were continuing to put out "pockets of fire" and were investigating exactly where the fire started.
He said: "Around 30 officers remain at the scene and are fighting the blaze in a two-storey outhouse at the rear of the Thomas Cook building.
"It's unclear if the fire may have started there and spread to the travel agent. There was a lot of smoke gathered in the shop and officers entered through it but investigations are continuing to establish the starting point."
Lothian and Borders Police closed parts of Princes Street, George Street and Hanover Street to all traffic and pedestrians. Traffic is being diverted away from the area and drivers are asked to use alternative routes.
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