FIREFIGHTERS from across Sussex are currently battling a raging fire at a thatched cottage within an exclusive private estate in East Preston.
A total of 14 appliances were called to Tamarisk Way, in the Willowhayne Estate, shortly after 8.30pm this evening (Sunday, January 19).
Flames have so far engulfed the entire roof of the property, with a plume of smoke rising high into the night sky.
The road is currently sealed off while crews tackle the blaze, which officials from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service are treating as a ‘major incident’.
The Gazette understands that the occupants who were inside the home at the time, are now staying with neighbours.
A spokesman from West Sussex Fire and Rescue said: “At roughly 20.30 hours this evening the fire and rescue service received a 999 call stating a thatched property in East Preston was alight.
“Four appliances from East Preston, Lancing and Worthing were dispatched immediately. They were confronted with a severe fire in the roof which was spreading rapidly.”
He added: “West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service is currently dealing with a severe and protracted incident with 14 appliances, including specialist vehicles.
“It is likely to continue for some time throughout the night.”
Updates to follow.