COUNTY NEWS: Businesses at blaze site tell of lucky escape

A number of businesses have spoken about their lucky escape following a major fire in their business park in Sussex.

Around 60 firefighters tackled the huge blaze. Picture: Eddie Howland
Around 60 firefighters tackled the huge blaze. Picture: Eddie Howland

Around 60 firefighters tackled the huge blaze at Rowfant Business Centre in Wallage Lane, near Crawley Down, which started in the early hours of this morning (June 26).

Steve Gray, manager of Sussex Chimneys, said his office is about 200 yards from where the fire broke out.

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He said: “We got a call saying we couldn’t get into the business park and to stay away.

Rowfant Business Centre fire. Picture: Eddie Howland

“We haven’t gone to work today. None of our lads could go to work, we have about nine that start at 6am.

“It has had a knock on effect for us. The fire has not had any impact on our office, it has just had an effect on our day to day business, it puts us behind for the week.

“Fire crews are still there, I am now back in the office. It is about 200 yards from where the fire broke out.

“No one wants to lose their business. I think about three have lost theirs, M&S skip site, their lorries have burnt out and a landscape gardener has lost everything I believe.

Firefighters and officers worked hard throughout the night to control the blaze. Picture: Eddie Howland

“We are lucky – losing a days work is better than losing your whole livelihood.”

David Urion, production manager for A C K Aviation, turned up for work at 5am this morning and was also told to stay away.

He said: “I was told no businesses would be operating all day.

“We have been untouched by the fire and we are fine. It has just ruined production for us.

“We have had no information about who was effected by it and how bad it is. Fire crews are still here. There hasn’t been enough communication.

“I must say though the fire brigade have been very good. The only thing is the communication, it would be nice for them to let us know what is going on.

“Our boys will be going back to work tomorrow. We’re a day behind but we are very lucky.”

Rasto Madda, operation manager for Timberstore Ltd also had a lucky escape.

He said: “The fire didn’t effect us, we are very lucky.

“We had to shut our business this morning. We were told we would may be able to get back in by lunch time.

“We are back in now. We are quite far away from the fire, about 300 yards.

“It was just restricted access for us and we couldn’t do deliveries in the morning.

“We are happy we are ok. The fire brigade did a great job like always.”

Steve Pluckrose, previous partner of Technical Fabrications, which closed down in March, said his office would have been two to three metres from the blaze.

He added: “We stayed for 30 years in the business centre. It was terrific, the landlords were very helpful.

“We sold the lease in March, the business closed down. And it was a good job we did!

“Looking at the pictures it looks pretty bad and we would have been two to three metres from the fire.”

Firefighters are now investigating the cause of the blaze.

Read the original story here.

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