SMOKE could be seen more than 30 miles away as flames engulfed an industrial site.

Witnesses said the huge blaze erupted with an “explosion” at a scrap yard site off Chartwell Road, Lancing, at about 1.35pm.

A 50 metre cordon was set up by police as eight fire engines from several stations rushed to the scene to battle the flames.

The Argus:

One witness told The Argus: “A huge fire has broken out. There are fire engines at the scene from Worthing, Shoreham and Brighton and there’s thick black smoke blowing through the whole of the business park.”

Another said they had heard an explosion before flames engulfed the scrap yard.

Firefighters tackled the flames as thick black smoke was seen billowing over the skyline from as far away as Birling Gap – more than 30 miles from the scene.

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The Argus:

Credit: Amy Harris

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said they had received 65 999 emergency calls about the fire.

Speaking as crews continued to fight the blaze, he said: “We mobilised fire engines from Lancing, Worthing, Shoreham, East Preston and Arundel, along with East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service appliances from Brighton and Hove.

“The aerial ladder platform from Brighton is also at the scene, along with the Command Support Unit from Haywards Heath.

“Our Technical Rescue Unit are providing crews on the ground with images from the service drone.

“Firefighters are using compressed air foam from the aerial ladder platform to tackle the fire, as well as four jets, and two hydrants. Sussex Police have closed a number of roads surrounding the industrial estate and there is a 50 metre cordon in place.”

The fire was under control by 5.30pm and no injuries have been reported. 

Train services were affected while emergency services responded to the incident but returned to normal service at about 4pm.