Fire breaks out at Novartis research plant in Horsham

More than 200 people had to leave a drugs plant in West Sussex after fire broke out in a research laboratory.

Firefighters from Sussex and Surrey were called to the incident at Novartis in Horsham and stayed at the scene for several hours on Thursday.

A spokeswoman from the pharmaceutical firm said it had been a major incident.

The blaze broke out on the third floor of the building in Wimblehurst Road. Crews said the cause of the fire was being investigated.

'Safe evacuation'

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said the four-storey building was used as offices and laboratories.

Fire crews brought in seven thermal imaging cameras to tackle the blaze.

The fire damaged 20% of the laboratory area and left the whole laboratory smoke-damaged.

A statement issued by Novartis said: "We are working with the West Sussex fire brigade to determine the cause and full extent of the damage caused by this fire.

"All of our employees were safely evacuated from the building.

"The safety of our employees is our top priority and we are thankful that no-one was injured in this incident."

The company employs 240 people at its Horsham plant.

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