Viva Lewes - The Hills are Alive

Walking down the High Street I first see the crowd, and then the smoke. Then the fire engines. About 150 spectators are gathered around the War Memorial and down the street. An air of excitement. The roof above Mackays pillow and duvet shop, which is covered in scaffolding, is billowing smoke. I recognise several people. We grin. What is it about a disaster that makes you grin? I get as close as I can to take some photos. A lot of people are taking photos. Is this wrong? A policeman moves us up the street, back to the statue, puts up a cordon. Another fire engine arrives. There are firemen in the scaffolding, with hoses. I duck down St Nicholas Lane, and up Church Twitten, which I know will take me to a spot directly in front of Mackays. A couple of other photographers have had the same idea. And, strangely, a man in espadrilles with a lap dog. A crane lifts a fireman into the sky on a turret. He has a more powerful hose. Suddenly there’s a huge explosion, and the window shatters into the street. What a shock. Then a series of loud bangs, a machine-gun rattle of bombs. Were they storing fireworks up there? The flames rage in the window. The first sight of them. The smoke billows blacker and thicker. The firemen have disappeared from the scaffolding. I hope they are OK. The guy on the turret manages, after some time, to douse the flames. There are no more explosions. In the street it looks like it is raining. You can tell the crisis point has passed. A policeman moves us on, and puts up another cordon, further down the twitten. The spectacle is over.

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Where is it?
Cover - The Skyscrapers, by Vikki Furse
Above: Tuesday’s fire in School Hill
Last week’s ‘where is it?’- Pelham House


 
 
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