Everything we know about the fire at Central Pier in Blackpool

A blaze broke out at Blackpool's historic Central Pier this morning (July 17), with around 50 firefighters and ten engines rushing to the scene to bring it under control.

By Matthew Calderbank
Friday, 17th July 2020, 11:02 am
Updated Friday, 17th July 2020, 2:10 pm

What has happened?

Three fire crews from Blackpool, South Shore and Bispham were called out at 3.19am to reports of a fire at Central Pier.

Six emergency calls were made to 999 within a minute of each other, with a pier security guard on overnight patrol among the first to sound the alarm.

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A drone captures the aftermath of the fire at Central Pier in Blackpool this morning (July 17)

Upon arrival, they found a workshop and a ride completely engulfed in flames about half-way along the pier.

They immediately requested further assistance due to the scale and ferocity of the fire, and were told that another six engines were on the way.

The Incident Commander also requested the help of the command support unit from Fulwood and an aerial support unit from East Lancashire.

At the fire's peak, between 50 and 60 firefighters had been battling the blaze, and a total of ten engines and the aerial ladder platform were mobilised.

The fire has caused extensive damage to the Waltzer ride, as well as a workshop and the pier itself

Fire crews brought the blaze under control using hose reel jets, but firefighting efforts continued for a further five hours.

At 8am, a number of crews left the scene, leaving three fire engines to monitor for any hotspots and damp down.

Incident Commander Colin Hickson said the weather was on the firefighters' side while tackling the flames. He said it could have been a lot worse if the wind speeds had been higher.

You can read our minute-by-minute account of the fire, as told by Blackpool firefighters at the scene, here.

The nightmarish scene that greeted firefighters at Central Pier before dawn this morning (July 17)

Any injuries?

North West Ambulance Service were called to the scene by firefighters, but no-one has been injured in the blaze.

An ambulance service spokesman said: "I can confirm we were notified about a fire on Central Pier at 3.38am by the fire service.

"We attended with an RRV (rapid response vehicle) and ambulance, there were no patients at scene."

Fire crews tackling the Waltzer fire at Central Pier this morning (July 17)

What caused the fire?

An investigation into the cause of the fire is already underway, but nothing has been confirmed at this stage.

A fire service spokesman said: "There’s no mention at this stage as to what the cause may be and neither was there any decisions about whether they initially believe it to be deliberate or not."

What damage has been done?

Pictures from the scene show extensive damage to the fire-hit area, with the Waltzer completely destroyed.

The twisted and blackened metal of its tracks can be seen poking through the debris. Another ride has also suffered minor damage, but it is not clear which ride this is at this stage.

Firefighters at the scene said the pier itself was 'well-alight' when they arrived, but "outstanding team work brought the fire swiftly under control".

A nearby workshop has also been gutted by the fire, and a small shop has also suffered damage.

The Big Wheel is not damaged, but the iconic ride had been shrouded in black smoke as dawn broke over the coast this morning.

You can see pictures of the fire and its aftermath in our gallery below...

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Blackpool residents capture pictures of overnight blaze at Central Pier

What has the Council said?

Blackpool Council has commented, but only to confirm the facts of the incident.

A Council spokesman said: "There has been a fire at Central Pier. Lancashire Fire and Rescue are in attendance and all flames have been dampened down."

Road closures?

A number of roads were closed near Central Pier to allow emergency services to respond to the fire.

The Prom was closed for half a mile, between New Bonny Street (Coral Island) and Manchester Square, until around 8.30am.

Police also shut the junction between the Prom and Chapel Street due to the number of emergency service vehicles at the scene.

We will be bringing you updates on the fire throughout the day in our daily live blog...