Controversial TV personality Jeremy Clarkson risked angering Eastbourne firefighters after appearing to criticise their efforts to control the pier fire in his column for The Sun newspaper.
While firefighters worked tirelessly from both land and the sea to rescue as much of the historic landmark as they could – two-thirds of the iconic structure – the Top Gear presenter questioned the operation.
“I couldn’t help noticing that in each one, there was an RNLI Lifeboat squirting what appeared to be a garden hose into the inferno,” he said
“Was that it? Everyone knows that all piers burn down every 15 minutes, so why were the fire brigade in Eastbourne not better prepared?”
Firefighters revealed that they struggled with the operation due to outgoing tides and low water pressure but Clarkson seemed to disagree.
“It’s not like you’re ever going to run out of water when fighting a pier fire,” he continued.
“They say thanks to their efforts two-thirds of the ancient structure has survived. But having surveyed shots of the charred remains I’m not sure this argument is relevant.
“It would be like saying to a wife that doctors have saved two-thirds of her husband and then presenting her with his skeleton.”
Clarkson’s comments seemed to anger Eastbourne residents.
Diane Kelly said on Facebook, “Obviously he didn’t bother to research before opening his mouth.
“I understand there were 80 fireman present and was watching it all unfold and saw numerous fire engines present .
“The man is a buffoon.”
Clarkson is no stranger to controversy. Most recently he was accused of using the N-word in previously unbroadcast footage from Top Gear.
In April this year he was accused of casual racism after naming his black pet dog “Didier Drogba” after the Chelsea footballer, while in March he appeared to insult Thai people by using the term ‘slope’.
In December 2011, 31,000 people complained after he joked on the One Show that public sector workers should be “executed in front of their families.”