LIGHTNING struck a clocktower on the roof of a shopping centre.
Shoppers ran for cover when the clocktower in Crowborough, East Sussex, was struck just before 5pm today.
Witnesses reported hearing a cracking sound before debris from the Fernbank Centre, in High Street, smashed onto the floor.
Road closures were still in place after 8pm as emergency services worked at the scene.
No-one is thought to have been injured.
A spokesperson for East Sussex Fire and Rescue service said fire-fighters were called at 4.50pm.
She said: "The shopping mall was struck by lightning. There was a loud bang and there was a lot of debris so the crews there are making it safe."
Crews from Wadhurst and Mayfield attended the scene, borrowing an aerial platform ladder from Brighton, she added.
Police also attended to help close off the scene, a Sussex Police spokesman said.