COUNTY TIMES FIRE: Back to business as normal

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IT’S BACK to business as normal for County Times journalists today in Horsham, after last Thursday’s fire.

Thanks to the superb efforts of the emergency services, internal fire doors, and the fact that two senior journalists raised the alert so efficiently - much of the historic building was undamaged.

It was contained to just one newsroom, corridor, and stairwell - despite initial fears that it was more widespread - and no-one was injured.

This morning, it is business as normal, with most County Times staff working Market Square headquarters.

The historic building at the top of the Causeway - where the County Times was founded some 150 years ago - is the head office of Sussex Newspapers. The company is a major employer in the town.

The Editor In Chief Gary Shipton and senior colleagues were attending the County Times’ sponsored Hall and Woodhouse Community Chest Awards at the Olive Branch at the time the fire broke out.

When they heard the news they raced back to the historic home of the newspaper.

On Friday Mr Shipton praised the emergency services for their “superb response” and his colleagues in the building for alerting them so promptly.

“It’s business as normal,” he said. “None of our newspapers will be affected by this - and indeed we are planning a bumper special edition of the County Times next week, with full coverage of the fire.

“I cannot stress enough my thanks to the emergency services. They were absolutely brilliant. Everyone in Horsham can be so proud of them.

“I also want to single out for praise my exceptional colleagues who raised the alert and who have been dealing with the aftermath.

“Our emergency disaster protocols were immediately put in to action and have worked perfectly.

“Finally - my special and heartfelt thanks to the people of Horsham and the readers of the County Times who have contacted me in huge numbers expressing their concern and support.

“Horsham is a wonderful place - because of the wonderful people who live and work here. To all of them I say a massive thank you.”

Don’t miss next week’s County Times.