Cigarette Starts Worthing Pier Fire

14 June 2015, 09:30 | Updated: 14 June 2015, 10:34

A discarded cigarette was the cause of the fire that damaged part of Worthing Pier, say West Sussex Fire and Rescue.

Fire investigators say the blaze in a cavity wall of the Southern Pavilion at around 8.30pm Saturday evening, was started accidentally by "smoking materials".

Passers-by phoned 999 when they spotted smoke billowing from the end of the pier. Two fire engines were mobilised and they then asked for another four to be sent.

Guests at a wedding party in the Southern Pavilion and people playing the machines in the amusement arcade were evacuated. Shoreham Coastguard then set up a safety cordon around the pier.

Both Shoreham lifeboats were launched with one of them using thermal imaging equipment to check for any hotspots under the pier.

An entry on Worthing Fire Station's Facebook page reads: "We sent 6 Fire engines to Worthing Pier earlier this evening. It had the potential to be a very serious Fire. Luckily we were alerted quickly and were able to get to where the Fire was before it took hold. Many people will remember the Fire at Eastbourne Pier last year."

Shoreham and East Worthing MP Tim Loughton tweeted: "Relieved to see only minor damage from the fire on Worthing Pier tonight".

Worthing Borough Council say both the pier and the Southern Pavilion are open for business although the disabled toilet and the baby-changing facilities are fenced off.