Firefighters tackle big blaze in centre of Chichester

FIREFIGHTERS from both Hampshire and West Sussex have been tackling a fire that broke out above shops in the centre of Chichester on Friday night (March 4).

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called shortly before 9pm to a maisonette above the Fat Face store in East Street, Chichester.

The property consists of two storeys and an attic, above a ground floor shop. The occupiers had been alerted by a smoke alarm and found the problem to be a fire in the electrical intake on the first floor.

When fire crews arrived they found the blaze spreading to the upper floors and roof space via voids and service ducts. Teams of breathing apparatus wearers tackled the fire from inside to try and prevent it spreading to the roof space of neighbouring properties. An Aerial Ladder Platform was mobilised from Worthing to provide a working platform for firefighters to tackle the fire from above.

A total of 12 fire engines attended to ensure there were enough breathing apparatus teams and sufficient water supplies from nearby hydrants to stop the fire spreading. There was a small amount of smoke damage to adjoining properties. The fire broke out through the roof and further tiles were removed to allow the smoke and heat to ventilate which reduced the threat of a lateral fire spread along the roof void.

The incident is ongoing but the fire is under control. Fire crews and Police will be in attendance through the night, using relief crews from stations across the county. They are being supported by Red Cross volunteers who are supplying refreshments.

No one has been reported injured, although the damage to the maisonette is substantial. A small section of East St may remain cordoned off to allow a fire investigation to take place, but there will be minimal disruption to weekend shoppers.