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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Fire station blaze 'embarrassing'
Arundel Fire Station blaze
Firefighters from neighbouring stations fought the Arundel blaze
A fire chief has told of his embarrassment after a station without a smoke alarm went up in flames.

The building and fire engine were destroyed in the blaze at Arundel Fire Station, and more than 20 properties nearby were evacuated as a precaution.

Neil Odin, southern area commander for West Sussex fire service said it showed it could happen to anyone.

"Unfortunately, we had severe damage to our fire station, which is embarrassing," he told the BBC.

He said a brand new building would need a smoke alarm.

But he added: "Automatic smoke detection wouldn't have made any difference."

Station out of service

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

Nobody was injured in the fire which was tackled by 30 firefighters in six fire engines from neighbouring towns.

Temporary fire cover has been arranged for the Arundel area while the station remains out of service.

Mr Odin said the station would need major work to bring it back into operation after the "devastating" fire, but arrangements were being made to put temporary buildings in place so that service could resume.

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

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.

Blaze hits no-alarm fire station
25 Oct 06 |  Southern Counties

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