A faulty solar panel has been blamed for setting fire to the roof of Hove Town Hall this afternoon.
A huge plume of thick black smoke billowing from the roof of the council offices in Norton Road could be seen for miles around.
The building was safely evacuated while the blaze was put out and council workers have now been allowed back inside.
A fire service spokeswoman said: “East Sussex Fire and Rescue have been called to an incident in Hove.
“Firefighters from Hove and Preston Circus were called at 12.50pm to reports of smoke and flames coming from the roof.
“They are using foam to put out a fire in solar panels on the roof.
“There are no reports of any casualties.”
A council spokeswoman said “Hove Town Hall is currently being renovated and only a few staff and building contractors were inside at the time.
“Everyone was immediately evacuated and no one has been harmed. The source of the fire is believed to be an electrical fault with a solar panel on the roof. An investigation is underway.
“Those staff based at Hove Town Hall have now re-entered the building following clearance from the fire service at 1.30pm today.
“Brighton and Hove City Council will check all solar panels on all council buildings following this incident.”
HOVE TOWN HALL IS ABLAZE!!!!! pic.twitter.com/I0idF8Pyn6
— Busty St Clare (@British_Poodle) April 20, 2015
The hall was built in the late sixties to replace the original 1882 building which was destroyed in a fire almost 50 years ago, in January 1966.