Major delays as traffic diverted in wake of pier fire

Paul Spink SUS-140730-181812001
Paul Spink SUS-140730-181812001

Firefighters are still trying to control a blaze which has virtually destroyed Eastbourne Pier this afternoon.

There are major delays around Eastbourne as traffic is diverted off the seafront and more than 60 firefighters are tackling the fire, which started in the main arcade of the Victorian structure shortly after 3pm.

Coastguards, lifeboat crew, ambulance staff and countless police officers are still at the scene.

People on the Pier noticed smoke coming from behind a panel in the arcade and emergency services were called as a major evacuation took place and visitors were hurried off.

Within minutes the fire had taken hold and quickly spread throughout the metal and timber structure.

Due to high winds, the fire then began spreading from the main arcade into the individual shops heading down the Pier towards the Atlantis Nightclub.

Firefighters were put on board the Eastbourne Lifeboat at 4.30pm with high powered hoses to try and tackle the blaze from the sea while a fire engine was under the Pier fighting it from below.

The entrance to the Pier has so far been untouched by the flames.

Thousands of people rushed to the seafront and on to the beaches to watch the blaze before being pushed back by police. The cordon is now along the seafront past the Pier entrance.