Wedding DJ helped fight Worthing Pier blaze

The DJ at the wedding which was evacuated during the Worthing Pier fire on Saturday, fought flames with five extinguishers before firefighters arrived, staff said.

Fighting the blaze on the pier SUS-150613-230631001

Phil Duckett, managing director of the pier’s southern pavilion, said Paul Westover, aka DJ Paul Fish, found the source of the fire, broke through the wall and fought the flames before firefighters arrived on Saturday night.

Paul. 44, from Thorn Road, said he and Phil spotted the smoke coming from the disabled toilet in the southern pavilion at about 8pm.

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“We looked in the toilet and couldn’t work out where the smoke was coming from,” he said. “It was strange. We closed the door and then I turned around and there was smoke pouring out from underneath the door.

“I opened the floor and smoke had filled the room.”

The wedding of around 100 was evacuated and the fire service was called.

Then Phil went around the outside of the disabled toilet wall to try to find the source of the smoke.

“I put my hand on the outside skin of the wall. It was really, really hot and the paint was starting to splinter.

“There were poles holding up rope. I picked up a pole and smashed a hole in the wall and could see the wood starting to catch fire within the wall cavity.

“I thought ‘I’ve got to put the fire out’ so I smashed a hole and ripped some of the cladding off.”

Other members of staff went and found as many fire extinguishers as they could and lined them up next to Paul.

He got through five of the eight extinguishers they had collected before the firefighters arrived about 10 minutes later.

“That was a nerve wracking point. I could see if it got any worse I would run out of extinguishers so I wouldn’t be able to put it out.

“All the bride and groom’s plans were ruined by the fire so it was unfortunate but if it had been a fire when the pavilion wasn’t occupied there wouldn’t be a Worthing Pier left.”

Mr Duckett praised Paul for his quick thinking.

He said: “The manager of the building Gina Bardley as well as Andrea Moore the events manager plus myself went around the internal building gathering all the fire extinguishers and delivered them to Paul who used these to spray water in the void while we waited for the fire brigade to arrive.

“I think this action and the speed that it was delivered may have helped stop the situation becoming worse and inevitably helped the fire brigade take control of the fire quicker than it may have been.”

Six fire engines arrived at the pier just after 8.30pm. Two lifeboats and police were also called to the scene.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue confirmed the fire was caused by a discarded cigarette.

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