Fire breaks out at Eastbourne Pier on south coast of England

No reports of any injuries as 144-year-old structure destroyed

Fire and smoke engulf part of the pier in Eastbourne today. Photograph: Reuters

Fire and smoke engulf part of the pier in Eastbourne today. Photograph: Reuters


More than 140 years of history went up in flames today as a devastating fire ripped through Eastbourne Pier on the south coast of England.

Stacks of dense smoke belched into the sky after the fire started towards the entrance of the 144-year-old, Grade II-listed structure.

It began on the part of the pier housing amusement arcade attractions and came at the height of the all-important summer tourist season for the East Sussex resort.

Up to 80 firefighters tackled the fire from the coast, the beach and from underneath the Victorian structure, which is privately-owned by Cuerden Leisure.

Fire investigators were at the scene tonight as embers could still be seen burning some five hours after the blaze started.

Sussex Police said the pier was quickly evacuated, no-one was trapped and the fire is not believed to be suspicious “at this time”.

All that remained of the building’s structure was a blackened metal carcass. The sea-end section of the pier appeared to be unaffected by the blaze.

Tourists and locals thronged the beach and promenade to watch the pier gradually become engulfed in flames from around 3pm.

Although the area was busy at the time, East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said they were not aware of any injuries or casualties.

The blaze was eventually brought under control shortly before 8pm, it said.