The live training exercise gave firefighters to put their training into action shortly after 7pm.
Neighbours living alongside the development were given advance notification of the incident so as not to cause any alarm, but firefighters and duty officers were kept in the dark to assess their response to the incident as though it were a real emergency.
Co-ordinated by the service’s Joint Fire Control, crews from across the county were mobilised to the incident which involved a fire that had broken out in the development’s underground carpark, which was filled with artificial smoke to create a realistic fireground environment.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus were deployed into the carpark to recover a number of ‘casualties’ believed to be in there when the fire broke out.
The training exercise was planned and co-ordinated by Worthing White Watch Manager Steve Hayes. He said: “Being given access to a new and complex building such as the Bayside development was a fantastic opportunity for our firefighters to put their training into action. The training exercise was a huge success and gave our firefighters the chance to work together with other neighbouring crews, as well as officers from Sussex Police and paramedics from the South East Coast Ambulance Service who joined us for the evening.
“I would like to thank residents living nearby for their patience while this exercise was carried out, which will ultimately help us keep people safe in the event of an emergency situation breaking out.”
At the height of the incident, crews from Worthing, Lancing, Shoreham, Henfield and Storrington were in attendance, along with the Aerial Ladder Platform from Horsham and the Incident Command Unit from Haywards Heath, before the incident was brought to a close at around 9.30pm.