A Tesla car dealership has caught fire, with eyewitnesses describing “many small explosions” coming from the site.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service were called to the centre in Crawley at 10.29am, where they say the building is “well alight”.

Six fire engines and and an aerial ladder platform have been scrambled to the scene in County Oak Way.

The fire service posted on Twitter: “The Tesla car dealership building in #Crawley is currently well alight. We were called at 10.29am, crews at scene. Please avoid this busy area.”

It added: “We are currently in attendance of a significant fire in Crawley, on County Oak Way. Six engines and an Aerial Ladder Platform at scene.”

Eyewitness Thomas Ferryman told GetSurrey that he had heard “many small explosions”, which he believed could be batteries for the electric vehicles.

The fire comes as the electric car manufacturer has announced plans to close its dealerships and to sell its vehicle online only, raising doubts about the future of its sites in the UK and Ireland.

The Silicon Valley firm has not confirmed the number of store closures or job losses, but Tesla has 378 stores and locations worldwide – including 18 stores in the UK and Ireland.