John Lewis and Waitrose evacuation: Horsham crew commander explains cause

Hundreds evacuated from Horsham's John Lewis and Waitrose
Hundreds evacuated from Horsham's John Lewis and Waitrose

A Horsham fire crew commander has explained the cause of the John Lewis and Waitrose evacuation last week.

Hundreds of staff and customers were told to leave the store on Friday July 3 after reports a smell of smoke was coming from the building.

Chris Tait, crew commander at Horsham Fire Station, said welding equipment was responsible for setting off the alarm and praised staff for evacuating the building safely.

Mr Tait said: “The smell of burning was caused by welding equipment being used outside the rear of the building. The fumes set off a smoke detector in the car park lobby which set off the fire alarm.

“I wanted to praise the efforts of Waitrose and John Lewis staff in safely and efficiently evacuating a building of that size. They were clearly well drilled in the fire emergency evacuation plan.”

Related stories: New Waitrose store evacuated

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