Cause of Sussex industrial building blaze is confirmed

A large fire which broke out in an industrial building in Sussex over the weekend is being treated as accidental.

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 12:51 pm

Firefighters battled the blaze in sweltering temperatures on Saturday (August 8), after receiving more than 80 calls from members of the public.

The industrial building in Beach Road, Newhaven, was evacuated and residents were asked to avoid the area and keep their doors and windows closed.

Plumes of black smoke could be seen billowing into the air from as far as Lancing in West Sussex.

The fire in Newhaven

East Sussex Fire & Rescue confirmed this week that the fire is being treated as an accident.

“We have concluded our fire investigation today and it’s believed to have been an accidental fire caused by a defective electrical appliance,” said a spokesman.

At its height, 12 fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze.

A fire service spokesman said on Saturday (August 8): “A serious fire was reported at 9.32am this morning at an industrial building in Beach Road.

The fire in Newhaven

“More than 80 999 calls have been made to us. The building has been evacuated.

“There are no reports of injuries. As of 11.30am, 12 fire engines are being supported by water carriers and aerial appliances.

“Sussex Police is among the other agencies supporting at the scene and in the local area.”

As of 4.30pm, the fire service said the operation was being scaled back with crews remaining on scene until 6pm using water to douse any hotspots.

The fire in Newhaven

“The building has been badly damaged,” added a spokesman.

“A preliminary fire investigation is being launched.

“We would like to thank all those who have assisted us at this incident.”

When the fire broke out, Lewes District Council set up a rest centre at the Hillcrest Centre in Bay Vue Road in case it was needed.

A large cloud of black smoke was reportedly seen from as far away as Lancing in West Sussex. Photo: Robin Pettitt

A spokesman said on Saturday (August 8): “The outer cordon is being removed and the rest centre that council officers setup will not be required.

“East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service remain on scene and anticipate being there for the rest of the afternoon.

“Our thanks to all the fire officers for their superb response in Newhaven today.”

James MacCleary, leader of the district council and Newhaven resident, had a clear view of the blaze.

He said on Saturday (August 8): “It looks like they are starting to get it under control now.

“There was very thick, black smoke for a long time. It was really bad about 10am.

The fire in Newhaven

“The smoke is still coming up thick and fast but it’s a much lighter colour. It’s thinned out significantly.

“It looks like the warehouse is some distance from the housing but the main concern at the moment is the air quality and breathing it in.

“The district council is on standby to provide emergency accommodation if the fire service tells us we need to evacuate anybody.”

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