Eastbourne Pier fire: Can the Victorian landmark ever be restored? - Home News - UK - The Independent

Eastbourne Pier fire: Can the Victorian landmark ever be restored?

Fire crews claim to have saved ‘a great deal’ of the Victorian structure

Fire crews said on Thursday they have saved “a great deal” of Eastbourne Pier, after a fire that lasted hours ripped through the 144-year-old Victorian structure.

The blaze – believed to have been started behind some wood panelling in the arcade – began on Wednesday afternoon and destroyed the pier’s roof. No injuries were reported and Sussex Police are not treading the fire as suspicious.

As of 9:45am on Thursday around 20 firefighters remained at the scene “damping down and cutting away” to ensure all hot spots were dealt with, and to ensure no chance of re-ignition, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said.

But Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt said he was hopeful the pier could be repaired. He is expected to be having meetings on Thursday in order to assess the damage and see how the council can “move forward”.

 

Eastbourne Pier has a nightclub and is a popular wedding venue, in addition to being known for the arcade. Mr Tutt said: “We are offering whatever help we can to the owners if there are weddings booked and so on to find new locations so nobody is disappointed.”

Eastbourne Borough Council said senior decision makers will meet on Thursday to discuss the response to the fire and “immediate next steps”. The council thanked the emergency services, particularly East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, for their “outstanding” work in tackling the fire.

“It is thanks to their bravery and professionalism that there was not more extensive damage to the pier,” it said in a statement.

What appears to be left of the pier is a shell of the structure’s largest dome, close to the shore, with a number of buildings badly damaged, while an investigation into the blaze is underway, a fire service spokesperson told the BBC.  

Despite the leaping flames and great plumes of smoke that were seen engulfing the pier during the blaze, chief fire officer Des Pritchard of the East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service told the BBC that “there’s a great deal that’s still there”.

He said the outgoing tide and low water pressure had hampered crews, who were still dousing spots of fire overnight, but that their hard work had “paid off”.

“Pier fires are notoriously difficult to fight because there is one way on and one way off – and the tide can cause additional problems.

“The hard work of our firefighters has paid off in that we have been able to save a section of this iconic landmark but I know for the people of Eastbourne, this will still be devastating.”

Around 60 firefighters had arrived at the scene by 3pm, including personnel from neighbouring towns, but the severity of the blaze saw crews rise to around 80 people by 6:30pm.

“The good news is that we don’t have a Brighton or Hastings scenario where the whole pier is destroyed,” Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd said.

Brighton’s West Pier burned down in 2003 and the structure’s shell can still be seen looming out of the water between Brighton and Hove. In February this year, storms in the UK destroyed yet more of the pier, with the former pavilion split into two sections after part of it collapsed into the sea under the strength of 70mph winds.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week