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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Blaze hits no-alarm fire station
Arundel Fire Station blaze
Firefighters from neighbouring stations fought the Arundel blaze
A West Sussex fire station which did not have a fire alarm fitted has been badly damaged in a blaze.

Ambulance service staff, who also work in the Arundel Fire Station building in Ford Road, Arundel, found smoke coming from the premises on Wednesday.

Thirty firefighters from neighbouring stations were sent to the blaze, which destroyed the town's fire engine.

The station is served by retained firefighters, none of whom were in the building at the time.

Homes evacuated

"A fire alarm system is designed to save lives, whereas this building was unoccupied most of the time," said a spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.

"It just goes to show that fire can affect anyone."

About 20 neighbouring properties were evacuated as a precaution.

It is thought the blaze, which severely damaged the roof of the building, started in the fire engine bay.

The rest of the premises, and the area used by South East Coast Ambulance Service, was damaged by smoke.

"We do not know what started the fire yet, but fire investigation officers will be going in to the building as soon as it is safe," said the spokesman.

Temporary fire cover is being arranged for the Arundel area while the station is out of service.

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