AN ENORMOUS smoke cloud filled the sky after a fire broke out at an industrial building.

The inferno engulfed a site in Beach Road, Newhaven, at about 9.30am yesterday.

Flames leapt from the building as an enormous plume of black smoke climbed into the air and blew west.

The Argus:

With temperatures soaring past 30C, shocked onlookers from busy beaches as far afield as Brighton, Lancing and Seaford spotted the blaze in the skyline,

Miles inland, walkers on the South Downs also contacted the Argus with images of the smoke.

Joe Hoadley was working in a rubbish yard next door to the site of the fire, which is reported to be a fishmongers, when the fire started.

The Argus:

He described how part of the building had collapsed after a loud explosion.

The 32-year-old, from Newhaven, said: “As I got there the fire was in full swing with flames bursting out of the roof and the side of the metal building.

“Fire crews were already there and they were busy trying to control the fire.

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“We ran to our yard to move our big machines as far away as possible in case the fire spread, and some of the other business were doing the same thing.

Once we had done that, as we were standing there, there was an explosion which blew out the back of the building.

“Fire services started to blow their whistles and they all stood back.

The Argus:

“Then, a few minutes later, the door gave way and collapsed.”

He said fire crews at the scene, who had cleared the building and surrounding area shortly before the explosion, had executed their roles perfectly.

A total of 12 teams amassed to the scene at the peak of the fire, working together to empty the hazardous building and extinguish the flames.

The Argus:

Crews remained on the scene for more than eight hours, bringing the blaze under control.

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman confirmed there had been “no reports of injuries to the public” and said that crews remained at the scene "throughout the night damping down and checking for hot spots".

She said: “Crews remained at the scene until gone 6pm using water to douse any hotspots. The building has been badly damaged.

The Argus:

“We would like to thank all those who have assisted us at this incident.”

A preliminary fire investigation is being launched to establish the cause of the fire.

Picture credits: Eddie Mitchell, Simon Dack, Liz Boorman and Joe Hoadley