Worthing councillors have conveyed their sympathy for residents and business owners suffering the ‘devastating’ effect of the fire which broke out in Rectory Road yesterday.
Councillor Jim Deen said he and other Worthing Labour Group councillors were ‘relieved’ to hear that no-one was injured in the fire, which affected ten flats and five shops opposite the Thomas A Becket pub.
Mr Deen said: “Nevertheless, the damage to the shops and flats is obviously very severe and we want to convey our sympathy to those running those businesses and living in the flats for the devastating effect the fire will have had on their businesses, their homes and for the loss of their possessions.
“I have just visited the scene to get a first-hand view of the aftermath and to talk to some of those affected.
“The fire brigade obviously did a tremendous job in containing the fire in a parade of buildings where timber was a major component of the upper storeys.
“The structural safety of the building is currently being assessed by the fire service experts and we can only hope that the damage to the lower part of the building is not too great.
“It was heartbreaking to hear that the Thomas newsagent at the end of the parade had just undergone a refit.
“We hope this valued local business will be able to get up and running again soon.
“That same sentiment applies to the Ghurka Tandoori, A1 Quality Homecare and all the other businesses affected.
“This shopping parade is at the heart of the local community and the effect of the fire will be felt by everyone.
“We understand that those evacuated for the night from the neighbouring Becket Court flats will have to wait for checks on the building before they can return.
“It must have been a frightening experience for them too, and we hope they are able to return to their homes very soon.
“If the Labour Group can offer any practical support and help in getting their businesses and their lives back on track we hope they will get in touch with us.”
The fire service has issued the following advice for residents affected by the blaze.
Rectory Road will remain closed for the rest of the day while the fire service investigates the scene.