EMERGENCY services attended an electrical fire coming from a manhole this evening which led to police cordoning off the area and evacuating nearby buildings.

The fire happened around 6pm from a manhole on the pavement by Kings Road in Brighton, near the Harbour Hotel.

A spokeswoman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) confirmed that they were in attendance with two fire engines shortly after 6pm to reports of “smoke and flames”.

Fire crews checked nearby buildings but said there were “no signs of fire inside them” and that the incident is being treated as an electrical fire.

The fire caused delays on the A259 Kings Road, with a diversion up West Street put in place.

Sussex Police also put in a 30 metre cordon for the area and evacuated nearby buildings, including a nightclub nearby.

One passerby said: “I couldn’t believe it. It looked like the pavement was on fire.”

ESFRS said it requested support from UK Power Networks.

The latest information from the scene is that people are working to “isolate gas and electric utilities”. Fire crews also believe that “gas is being burnt off by the flames”.

The manhole cover which is on fire gives access to electrics and gas, according to ESFRS.

Fire crews say "steady progress" is being made but it may still be "several hours" until the incident draws to a close.

The spokeswoman for ESFRS said: "We had two fire engines come to the scene at 6pm to reports of smoke and flames.

The Argus: Screenshot from video sent in by Joe Crabtree this eveningScreenshot from video sent in by Joe Crabtree this evening


“We have checked nearby buildings but there is no signs of a fire inside.

"We are treating it as an electrical fire.

"A 30 metre cordon is now in place and nearby buildings have been evacuated including a local nightclub.

"UK Power Network workers are on site.

"Steady progress is being made but it may still be several hours before the incident draws to a close. 

"People are asked to avoid the area.  If you usually use the route during the morning rush hour, please plan alternative routes and allow extra time in case the cordons remain in place. 

"The cause hasn't been confirmed however it's being treated an electrical fire.

"We would like to thank everyone for their patience and our partners, including Sussex Police, the local authority and power companies for working alongside us."

There have been no reports of any injuries at the scene.

The fire happened near the Harbour Hotel which is where the England Rugby team is staying.

Have you got a story for us? Email news@theargus.co.uk or contact us here.

Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to keep up with all the latest news.

Sign up to our newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox.

You can also call us on 01273 021 400.