Fire crews investigate causes of blaze that gutted part of Eastbourne Pier

Up to 20 firefighters were continuing to damp down and reach remaining hotspots on fire-ravaged Eastbourne Pier. Fire chiefs expect to further scale down their efforts on the 144-year-old, Grade II-listed Victorian structure in the next few hours.

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Crowd funding appeal launched to help Eastbourne pier traders

The damaged pier Credit: PA

An Eastbourne resident has launched a crowd funding appeal to help the traders and businesses affected by the fire on the pier.

The money will go towards the Eastbourne Pier Benevolent Fund which will create pop up shops to help keep traders afloat while it's rebuilt.

The benevolent fund has been organised by the Chamber of Commerce, the Eastbourne Hospitality Association, Eastbourne Borough Council and Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd.

Mr Lloyd said: "This is a disaster for us. It is a lovely pier. It was built in 1870. It's heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking."

But he said two thirds of the pier remained intact and the structure could be repaired.

The crowd funding appeal has been launched by resident Bruce Salter.

Mr Salter, who has lived in the area for 15 years, described the pier as an "iconic" structure.

Despite the damage the structure can be repaired Credit: PA

The fire broke out on Wednesday behind wood panelling in the arcade building.

Eastbourne Borough Council leader David Tutt has said he understood the fire had been started by an electrical fault, but fire crews have said the cause is unexplained and an investigation will take a number of days.

No-one was injured and the fire is not being treated as suspicious

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Eastbourne pier fire now being treated as possible arson

"As a result of our investigation we have received information to suggest that the fire may have been started by someone, either deliberately or accidently, and our investigation is now focusing on that line of enquiry.

A temporary scaffold platform has been erected adjacent to where the fire is thought to have broken out in order to enable scenes of crime officers and fire investigators safe access to the area.

In the meantime, we are very keen to hear from anyone who has photographs or video taken at the entrance or actually on the pier in the hours before the fire started. If you have such material or indeed any other information about the incident, please email us at pier.fire@sussex.pnn.police.uk quoting Operation Barsham. Alternatively, you can call 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."

– Detective Inspector Mark O'Brien, Sussex Police

Learning the lessons of Pier fires: Do we have the money to rebuild them?

Our seaside piers are a popular tourist attraction - structures of historical significance - of a Victorian era. But, after being badly damaged by fire, is there the money to rebuild them? Before Eastbourne, in 2010, Hastings Pier succumbed to flames. We look back at the history of piers - and whether lessons can be learnt. With our report, Sarah Saunders.

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Police pictures reveal destruction of Eastbourne pier

Eastbourne Police have released images of the pier ruined by a fire that started in the wall panelling yesterday and spread to engulf the entire arcade.

The damage left the front of the pier as a burnt out shell Credit: Eastbourne Police
A very different sight at the entrance of the pier before the fire struck
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