Firefighters were called to major blaze on Bognor Regis seafront in the early hours of this morning (Sunday).
Crews from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS), supported by colleagues from Hampshire, were called to a smell of smoke at 3.47am.
The first crew was on site at The Esplanade, close to Lennox Street by 3.55am.
According to WSFRS, 14 fire engines were called to deal with the fire and crews have been working in extremely difficult conditions due to Storm Angus, which hit Sussex today.
Although part of the building was derelict 30 people have been evacuated from adjoining flats.
Lead officer at the scene Adrian Murphy said: “This incident has taken place in the midst of a major storm and it was difficult to stand when we arrived on the seafront.
“Our crews have worked hard for the last few hours with support from a number of other agencies.
“Our key priority now is to work with the displaced residents to get them safely home as soon as possible.”
WSFRS is working in partnership with a number of agencies, including Arun District Council, and have support from Hampshire Fire & Rescue Service, West Sussex County Council’s Resilience and Emergencies Team and our own Technical Rescue Unit.
A spokesperson for Sussex Police said:”Shortly before 4am on Sunday (November 20), police were alerted by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to a report of a fire at Beach restaurant, in The Esplanade.
“Significant structural damage has been caused to the premises and the derelict buildings adjacent to it.
“Officers assisted in the evacuation of about 30 people from neighbouring properties, who have since been temporarily accommodated by the local authority at Arun Leisure Centre.
“One person was treated for smoke inhalation but has since been discharged. No other injuries have been reported.
“The Esplanade is currently closed at the junctions with West Street and Lennox Street as all three emergency services remain at the scene.
“This closure is likely to be in place throughout the day – and potentially into the week – and people are urged to avoid the area.
“The cause of the fire, which is now under control, is being investigated by West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.”
Anyone with any information is asked to report it online at www.sussex.police.uk/contact-us/response-to-appeal/ or call 101, quoting Operation Haremoor.
The Met Office released an amber weather warning yesterday for Storm Angus, with severe winds of speeds of up to 80mph hitting Sussex from 2am to 11am today.
Photo by Eddie Mitchell.