Firefighters thank community after devastating Worthing fire

Firefighters have thanked the community for their donations and support after a serious fire which damaged flats and businesses in Worthing.

Ten fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms were called to the blaze, in Rectory Road, shortly after 6.30pm on bank holiday Monday. They were sent from fire stations in Worthing, Shoreham, Arundel, Littlehampton, Steyning, East Preston and Horsham.

Ten fire engines were called to the blaze in Rectory Road, Worthing, on bank holiday Monday

Ten fire engines were called to the blaze in Rectory Road, Worthing, on bank holiday Monday

They found a three-story building with a serious fire well alight with flames breaking through the roof.

Read more: ’Drone images show shocking impact of Worthing fire from above’

Crews worked through the night to extinguish the blaze. Rectory Road remained closed until Tuesday afternoon.

All residents safely escaped the building and were initially evacuated to the Thomas A Becket pub.

Aerial images showed the flames through the roof

Aerial images showed the flames through the roof

The fire meant that a number of families were displaced from their homes and there were a number of others whose properties were also affected. Initial reports said ten flats and five businesses were affected, but today the fire service confirmed eight flats and five shops had been damaged.

Following the blaze, members of the public came forward with offers of support, clothes and essential items.

The British Red Cross co-ordinated the donation appeal and distribution of the items from the Thomas a Becket pub.

These donations have now been taken to the Worthing Churches Homeless Projects, where they can be accessed by the residents affected.

Crowds gathered opposite as firefighters tackled the blaze

Crowds gathered opposite as firefighters tackled the blaze

An investigation into the cause of the fire has been launched, although Worthing fire station manager Roy Barraclough said on Tuesday that it was not believed to be suspicious.

Mr Barraclough said today: “The community has come together in an amazing way, offering support, clothes, essential items and even money, to those affected by the fire.

“Staff at the Thomas A Becket pub were also been brilliant, providing us with a safe place to evacuate everyone to that night.

“It has been especially humbling to hear so much fantastic support from the community for the emergency services.”

Surveying the damage the day after the fire

Surveying the damage the day after the fire

Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, said: “Fires can have a devastating impact on people’s lives and it has been incredible to see so many people come forward to do what they can to help.

“I also want to thank our amazing firefighters who worked tirelessly put out this fire and to keep everyone safe.”

Damage to the flats in Rectory Road, Worthing, the day after the blaze took hold

Damage to the flats in Rectory Road, Worthing, the day after the blaze took hold