A “devastating” fire has destroyed part of Eastbourne Pier after an arcade caught light at the popular seaside resort.
Up to 80 firefighters battled the blaze from the coast, the beach and from underneath the Victorian structure to bring it under control.
Police evacuated scores of tourists and beachgoers from the attraction, while lifeboats were launched amid reports some people may have leapt from the pier into the sea.
The emergency services were alerted to the blaze at around 3.15pm [Wednesday, ed.] when a small fire in the wall panelling of an arcade took hold and quickly spread across the two-storey main building at the front of the pier.
Dramatic footage and images taken by onlookers from the beach and promenade showed the pier’s wooden roof and timber structure entirely consumed by giant flames, as huge plumes of black smoke leapt hundreds of feet into the air.
All that remained was the metal carcass of the building.
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