Churchill Square car park remains closed after fire

Staff were evacuated from the shopping centre (Photograph: Pete Humphreys)
Staff were evacuated from the shopping centre (Photograph: Pete Humphreys)

A car park at a Brighton shopping centre remains closed today (April 5), after a fire yesterday afternoon (April 4).

Churchill Square was evacuated at 4.45pm, after the fire service was called to tackle a car fire at 4.35pm.

Churchill Sqaure car park was sealed off after a fire (Photograph: Pete Humphreys)

Churchill Sqaure car park was sealed off after a fire (Photograph: Pete Humphreys)

This morning, a statement from the shopping centre said: “Churchill Square would like to notify customers that the centre is open today and trading as usual.

“Churchill Square Car Park 1 (off West Street) remains CLOSED until further notice, however, those customers who left their vehicles due to the incident will be able to exit at no cost today. Churchill Square Car Park 2 (Cannon Place) is fully OPEN, and any customers who had to leave their vehicles overnight due to the incident, can exit today at no cost.”

At the incident last night, staff were waiting outside the Brighton shopping centre after being evacuated.

Julie, 28, who works at the centre, said: “There was smoke coming from the delivery area, just a little bit coming into our stockroom. At least we know it is a real fire this time. It didn’t get onto the shop floor. We’re tired of waiting - we’ve been here for two hours- and we’re cold because we couldn’t get any of our clothes.”

Jade, 25, said: “I don’t really know what happened. We were all told to evacuate and we have done. Now we’re just waiting to go back in. The customers didn’t really know what was going on at first but once they knew they had to evacuate they weren’t too happy. But it wasn’t too bad. We’ve all been trained in how to evacuate people so our staff were really good and handled it really well.”

Mellisa, 23, said: “It smelt of smoke and we evacuated about quarter to five. It wasn’t really scary - I just knew I had to get out. I heard something in the car park caused the fire. We’ve been doing literally nothing just sitting down here for a couple of hours. I’ve got a jacket so I’ll be alright.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue service said three fire engines from Roedean, Brighton and Hove, were called at 4.35pm yesterday (April 4) to Churchill Square to reports of a car fire in the multi-storey car park.

A fire service spokesperson said: “Level three of the car park was heavily smoke logged and the shopping centre was evacuated, as a precautionary measure.

“Crews wearing breathing apparatus used a hose reel jet to tackle the fire and smoke was cleared from the building using positive pressure ventilation fans. The cause of the fire was found to be accidental.”

Additional reporting by Pete Humphreys.