Bognor Regis seasfront fire
A fire tore through buildings along the Bognor Regis seafront WSF&R

High winds and pouring rain hampered firefighters' efforts to quell a major fire on the Bognor seafront in the early hours of Sunday morning (20 November). Fourteen fire engines were scrambled to The Esplanade, close to Lennox Street, after reports of smoke at 3.47am.

Crews were supported by colleagues from Hampshire and battled through torrential conditions brought by Storm Angus. Flames tore through a derelict building but forced 30 people to evacuate adjoining flats.

Lead officer at the scene Adrian Murphy said: "This incident has taken place in the midst of a major storm and it was difficult to stand when we arrived on the seafront. Our crews have worked extremely hard for the last few hours with support from a number of agencies.

"Our key priority now is to work with the displaced residents to get them safely home as soon as possible. We would ask people to avoid the area if possible.

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton MP Nick Gibb tweeted his gratitude for the emergency services: "Thank you to West Sussex Fire and all our brilliant emergency services for their work in such awful conditions this morning."

Winds of up to 80mph were forecast to batter Sussex as Storm Angus crashed into England's southern coast.

Met Office forecasters issued an upgraded amber warning for severe gales from the Isle of Wight to Kent. The warning triggered the naming of Storm Angus and was is effective from 2am on Sunday until 11am on Sunday, while the yellow weather warning is from 12am until 3pm.

Met Office Chief Meteorologist, Andy Page, said: "Storm Angus is developing rapidly and will move north-east across southern and south-east England during Sunday morning. Southerly then southwesterly gales are likely with storm force winds developing over the English Channel and affecting some coastal districts. Very squally showers are also expected such that isolated gusts of 70-75mph are also possible further inland in the Amber warning area."