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Fire on Oceanside Pier creates massive smoke plume – NBC 7 San Diego

Firefighters were called Thursday afternoon to battle a blaze at the end of the iconic Oceanside Pier.

The fire was reported shortly after 3 p.m., authorities said.

A huge plume of smoke quickly filled the sky and two firefighting boats arrived on scene firing water cannons at the structure at the end of the pier, where it widens to support two structures and is called the hammer. A lone rescue vehicle stationed at the base of the pier, with a long fire hose, maybe two, running the length of the pier.

Although smoke obscured the scene, the building at the end of the pier burned furiously. The structure was formerly the site of Ruby’s Diner, which has sat empty since the business closed three years ago. As SkyRanger 7 arrived overhead, smoke billowed the length of the structure.

Officials provided an update on the Oceanside Pier fire during a press conference around 5 p.m. on April 25, 2024.

“The Oceanside Fire Department is currently engaged in battling a fire on the Oceanside Pier,” OFD tweeted at 3:14 p.m. “We ask all citizens to stay away from the immediate area.”

By 4 p.m., a third ship had joined the fight as well as a U.S. Coast Guard cutter, but smoke continued to billow from all sides of the two-story building as well as under the pier, with only a few flames actually visible. . On the coast, people had begun to gather to watch the fire, some posing for selfies with the historic structure burning behind them.

Fortunately for the crews working the boats, the waves were only 2 to 3 feet, making their efforts easier. The high waves would have considerably increased the difficulties of fighting the fire.

Fifteen minutes later, Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez told NBC 7 in a phone interview that “what we know is that the firefighters decided to take a defensive tactic and not not trying to save the restaurant but trying to save the rest of the pier.”

At 4:21 a.m., a helicopter operated jointly by Cal Fire and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department arrived to drop water on the structure fire, a very rare sight. By then, the roof had collapsed on a small structure next to Ruby’s old building, which housed a takeout business called Brine Box, and flames were beginning to escape the confines of the structure much bigger. , with its roof visibly starting to char.


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The fire helicopter remained on scene and made multiple drops on the inferno, but the fire resisted all attempts to extinguish it. At approximately 4:35 p.m., San Diego Fire Rescue’s new firefighting vessel Triton arrived to assist in the efforts. Carlsbad, Vista, North County Fire and Camp Pendleton also sent ground crews to help, officials told NBC 7.

Businesses and restaurants near the pier, including Top Gun House’s Famous High Pie, were closed due to onshore winds carrying smoke and ash toward the shoreline, the store’s operator said. pies to NBC 7 around 4:45 p.m.

Speaking at a news conference around 5 p.m., Oceanside Fire Chief David Parsons said rescuers were the first to report the fire and firefighters arrived five minutes later. He also said most of the fire had been virtually destroyed and they were now working to bring it under control, although the bridge was still burning, where firefighters were concentrating their efforts.

Despite warnings, hundreds of people gathered along the coast to watch the fire and efforts to put it out.

“There’s still a lot of work to do,” Parsons said.

By 5:15 p.m., a second firefighting aircraft, this one operated by SDG&E and primarily used to fight brush fires, had also been deployed to the pier fire, dropping up to 2,500 gallons at a time. Around 5:30 p.m., charred pieces of the pier had started to wash up on the shore.

At a second news conference held at 5:45 p.m., Parsons said the fire was stopped 15 feet just past the hammerhead shark.

“It’s really very good news,” Parsons said, “and like I said, we think the progress has stopped there. That means the vast majority of the pier itself is in good shape and in good condition.”

Charred pieces of the pier began washing up on shore around 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

At 6 p.m., SkyRanger 7 showed a very different scene than when it arrived a few hours earlier. Smoke was still blowing at the scene, but was no longer rising and the plume was significantly reduced. Small flames might burn here and there, but the fire, in the structure at least, appeared to be mostly extinguished. Firefighting boats and coastguards remained on scene, with water cannons still firing.

Parson said crews would remain on scene late into the night, looking for “hidden fire” or hot spots, to prevent the fire from reigniting.

Jessica Waite, co-owner of Brine Box, told NBC 7 the business was open when the fire broke out.

“Chief Rachel saw smoke rising under the pier, behind the old Ruby building,” Waite said. “Thankfully everyone was evacuated safely. We are so sad to see this happen.”

Last year, the city of Oceanside spent $5.5 million to upgrade the 1,954-foot-long pier’s aging pipes and electrical systems. The wooden structure was first built in 1888, but was destroyed twice during its life, once in 1890 by rough seas and, after being rebuilt, again in 1902.

Thursday’s fire is not the first building to burn at the site: in 1976, “a fire broke out at the Pier Fish Market, located midway on the pier and in December the Pier Cafe was completely destroyed by fire,” according to the Oceanside Chamber. Trade. The current pier was built in 1987.

No injuries were immediately reported. Sanchez, who said the city would be rebuilt, said at the news conference that all employees had been accounted for.

Parsons, the fire chief, said investigators are on the scene but the cause may not be determined for several days.

Check back here for updates on this latest news – Ed.

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