The fire that led to the evacuation of Churchill Square shopping centre yesterday (Saturday 4 April) started accidentally, according to investigators.
Thousands of shoppers left safely with no reports of any injuries despite smoke pouring from a car park into some shops.
A crew from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service saved a dog from one of the cars in the car park, between Churchill Square and the Brighton Centre.
Much of the surrounding area became traffic-choked as a result of the closure of West Street and Russell Road while the emergency services dealt with the fire and evacuation.
One car appears to have caught alight, with the fire spreading to two other cars next to it.
Sussex Police said: “A fire that led to the evacuation of Brighton’s Churchill Square shopping centre is not being treated as suspicious.
“The centre was evacuated at 12.25pm on Saturday following a fire in a car park that damaged three cars.
“Staff were permitted back into shops and offices around 2.15pm with the public allowed to return about 20 minutes later.
“The centre was fully reopen by 3.10pm, with the exception of the car park where the fire occurred although people were able to recover their vehicles.
“Fire investigators have ruled that the fire was not suspicious.”
Inspector Nicholas Dias, from Sussex Police, said: “I would like to thank people for their patience while this incident was dealt with and for their understanding that this evacuation was absolutely necessary.
“Our fire service colleagues quickly dealt with the fire but there was a lot of smoke and it was essential that the area was cleared.
“This was done swiftly and efficiently and there were no casualties.”
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