Five fire crews called to blaze in central Chichester

Firefighters are tackling a blaze in central Chichester tonight, with four crews still on scene, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed.

The smell of smoke is filling the air in North Street, where the high street area has been cordoned off while firefighters tackle the fire, first reported in St Martins Square at 10.17pm.

Firefighters were seen using breathing apparatus and hose reel jets outside the now smoke-filled shoe shop Hotter.

Update: The shoe shop fire and other smaller fires in the city centre are now being investigated as arson by police.

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service confirmed five crews were initially called to the incident.

He added: "We would urge people to avoid the area to allow crews to bring the fire under control."

Fire in central Chichester

Fire in central Chichester

It comes in the same week as a large fire at Westhampnett recycling plant, which is expected to burn for several days.

Read more: How the fire at Chichester tip unfolded – and what’s happening now

On Wednesday, there were two fires, one in North Street, Chichester, as well as a large fire in Bognor Road at a car valet centre.