GUEST COLUMNIST: Des Prichard, chief fire officer

Through the efforts of our firefighters and on-scene commanders, our crews have managed to save a major section of one of the South Coast’s most loved landmarks.

Pier fires are extremely challenging and this particular fire presented many complexities.

Access to a pier fire is extremely difficult, as is getting large quantities of water onto the fire.

The fire grew quickly through voids in the structure of the building, which resulted in the whole Arcade becoming totally engulfed in fire.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay credit to Pier staff who managed to safely evacuate the pier.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency at Dover were of great help to the Fire and Rescue Service mobilising the RNLI lifeboats from Eastbourne, Hastings and Newhaven. These proved to be vital in assisting fire crews in dealing with the incident.

Firefighters worked from the lifeboats using light portable pumps to lift water from the sea and onto the fire from below.

A tactical plan was drawn up to try and contain the fire to the Arcade building.

In addition to fire fighting from below and the land side, crews were put onto the seaward end of the pier and

were able to use the Pier’s fire main to provide fire fighting jets.

Crews managed to contain the fire to the Arcade and a few smaller buildings to the South.

Unfortunately the tide was going out and this meant the Lifeboats were moving south and away from the fire.

Ground monitors and jets were positioned on the beach providing fire fighting under the structure and re-fighters were also positioned in the sea with fire fighting jets.

The fire was brought under control during the early evening but fire-fighters and Lifeboat crews remained on scene overnight dealing with hot spots and damping down. This continued throughout the following day.

I was, as always, impressed by the level of skill demonstrated and the determination of all those involved, which includes our fleet engineers who kept our equipment running as well as our staff at the Sussex Control Centre, who are responsible for 999 calls and mobilising resources to the incident.

I would like say well done to everyone involved in the operations and thank you for your great work.