Smokers warned after butt sparks small fire on pier

Eastbourne Pier SUS-140403-130018001
Eastbourne Pier SUS-140403-130018001

Smokers have been warned about the dangers of discarding their cigarettes on Eastbourne Pier after a fire scare last weekend.

A cigarette butt sparked a small blaze underneath the decking of the pier in the early hours of Sunday morning and firefighters spent a fair bit of time gaining access to the difficult location, cutting away and damping down to ensure there was no further risk of fire.

Fire crews praised the staff at Atlantis Nightclub for raising the alarm so quickly and also highlighted the importance of training exercises that simulate fires on the pier. Eastbourne firefighters and neighbouring stations responded to such a drill in December last year.

Borough Commander Dave Sheppard said, “Firefighters routinely carry out training exercises to test their response to incidents that can occur, which on this occasion paid dividends as we were immediately alerted to the fire by a member of staff.

“Eastbourne Pier is a significant part of the Eastbourne experience and as such it is important that we regularly test that our response is both efficient and effective.

“We like to train in as realistic environment as possible so it is very important for us to be able to use premises such as the pier as it will ensure that our firefighters are familiar with the area should an incident occur. We are very grateful to the owners and manager of the Pier who gave us this opportunity.

“Fires on piers are notoriously difficult to extinguish once they get started, as we have seen in other incidents around the UK and locally in East Sussex, so it is very important that we are able to respond as swiftly as possible.

“We would like to urge the public to remain vigilant and not to discard any cigarettes on the pier.”

East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service was called to Eastbourne Pier at 4.59am on Sunday, June 29 after fire alarms were set off by smoke. Four fire engines attended the incident, which was closed at 6.13am. Crews returned for an inspection at 9.30am later that morning.