Business thanks fire service for its ‘swift response’ after blaze

Fire crews at 1st Central in Haywards Heath last Thursday. Picture: Eddie Howland
Fire crews at 1st Central in Haywards Heath last Thursday. Picture: Eddie Howland

A Haywards Heath car insurance company has thanked the fire service for its ‘swift response’ when a fire broke out in its office block in Perrymount Road.

Andy James, CEO of 1st Central, told the Middy this week that the business was still open as usual, following the blaze last Thursday, which started in the roof.

Picture: Eddie Howland

Picture: Eddie Howland

He said: “No one was in the building at the time and the fire was quickly contained thanks to the swift response of firefighters.

“We can confirm that no one was harmed in the fire and our customers have experienced no disruption.

“Whilst the top floor of Central House is quite seriously impacted, all other floors have had smoke damage in varying degrees that once cleaned should be usable as usual.

“We are open for business and have remained open since the incident last week, with offices based in Manchester and Glasgow operating as normal.

“Haywards Heath based teams are carrying out their duties from alternative locations and we’d like to thank local businesses for their support as well as a big thank you to the fire service for their prompt action.”

Ten fire engines were called to the fire which broke out during the early hours of the morning last Thursday.

Police closed roads around the town centre while fire crews, with many wearing breathing apparatus, tackled the high-rise blaze.

Crews also used aerial ladders to tackle the blaze.

A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman confirmed that no-one was hurt and the fire started because of ‘hot works taking place on the roof by contractors’.

Mr James, CEO of 1st Central, thanked the ‘patience of the public and local community’ last Thursday when the fire broke out.

He said: “We appreciate the patience of the public and local community whilst the firefighters continue their work this morning and apologise for any disruption caused.”

The business has been based at Central House since January 2015 and is one of the largest employers in Haywards Heath.

It is part of the First Central Group (FCG), with more than 700 employees across multiple locations including Guernsey, Gibraltar, Haywards Heath and Manchester, and also has contact centre services based in Glasgow.