A FIRE swept through a derelict building in a quiet residential street this afternoon.

Four fire engines were sent to tackle the flames in School Road, Hove. 

The fire is being treated as suspicious. 

One passer-by said: “I saw teenagers near the railway track.

“It looked like there were dodgy teenagers around in the area to be honest."

Another passer-by said he was startled by the black smoke he saw on his way home.

He said: “I was on my way back from the gym and I saw thick black smoke coming out of the old Westows building.

“I saw the fire service pull up the drain from the corner Kingsthorpe road, and use the pump to go in to the building.

“The road has been closed and cornered off while they deal with the fire.

“The police told me to stand back because they didn’t know what was in the building.

“They were getting statements from people standing nearby.”

Councillor Robert Nemeth said: “I attended site almost immediately having received calls from a number of residents as soon as the blaze was underway.

"I have passed on the address of those who are thought to be responsible to the attending sergeant and will be requesting an update imminently.

"Crime in this area has risen in recent weeks due to one particular problem family.

"It has been suggested that this is linked.”

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have left the scene of a fire at a derelict building on School Road in Hove.

"We were called just before 4pm on 24 March 2019. 

"Four fire engines and an aerial ladder were called to the scene.

"Eight breathing apparatus, main jets and hose reel jets were used.

"No injuries have been reported.

"The “stop” message was sent at 5.20pm, confirming the fire was out.

"The fire is being treated as suspicious."