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Eastbourne Pier ravaged by fire

Eastbourne pier was opened in 1870 and has today suffered a most damaging fire.

The fire started around 3pm in an amusement arcade towards the front end of the pier. The pier is owned currently by Cuerden Leisure. The pier has an amusement arcade, a night club and numerous retail outlets as well as being a popular fishing platform.

Up to 80 firefighters have been tackling the fire and lifeboats from Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven have been in attendance.

Firefighters are using lifeboats to help tackle the fire from the sea and an aerial platform is being used as a water tower to prevent the fire from spreading on the shore side. It would seem that the fire services could not save the arcade that was previously a ball room.

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus have been on the Pier and access has been gained from the far end of the Pier as efforts continued to stop the fire spreading further along the structure.

A spokesperson for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said, "We are working with other emergency services and agencies including Sussex Police, the Coastguard, the RNLI and South East Coast Ambulance."

Traffic in the area has been at a standstill due to the huge number of on-lookers rushing to the scene. Police controlled the growing crowd and kept extending the exclusion zones.

It is expected that fire services will stay in attendance until tomorrow to monitor the situation.

Whilst the cause of the fire is not yet known previous fires on the pier have been started deliberately. Today's fire has been made much worse by the strong sea breezes fanning the flames.

It is understood from staff in the arcade that there was a lot of smoke before the fire alarms sounded. Evacuation procedures removing all staff and the public form the pier appear to have been effective and there are no known casualties although staff have lost personal possessions in the fire. It is unfortunate that a lot of the staff were seasonal staff and they will now have lost their jobs. It is expected that the pier will now be shut for some considerable time.

Investigations in to the cause of the fire will start tomorrow.
pictures supplied by Alex Askaroff
30 July, 2014

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