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Public Safety

Fire breaks out on Oceanside Pier

A fire erupted Thursday on the western end of the Oceanside Pier, damaging the historic seafront landmark and sending a thick plume of smoke into the air over the coastal community in the northwestern corner of San Diego County.

The fire broke out for unknown reasons shortly after 3 p.m. in a large vacant building atop the pier, according to the Oceanside Fire Department, which urged the public to stay clear of the area for safety reasons. The burning commercial building previously housed a Ruby's Diner that closed three years ago.

There were no immediate reports of injuries due to the blaze.


An hour into the fire, live footage from the scene showed clouds of gray smoke continuing to boil to the east out of the shuttered restaurant and off the end of the pier itself. Patches of flames also were burning inside the building and on an adjacent section of deck as two firefighting boats doused the structure from underneath with high-powered hoses.

By 4:30 p.m., a Coast Guard cutter had arrived to aid in battling the fire, which remained out of control. Also, Cal Fire and San Diego Gas & Electric sent in water-dropping helicopters.

In addition to the pier, restaurants on the western reaches of its promenade were damaged by the blaze, according to city officials.

Shortly before 6 p.m., the Oceanside Fire Department announced that crews had contained the blaze to the seaward end of the pier and were making good progress toward fully extinguishing it.

The 1,950-foot-long wooden sea pier is billed as the longest on the West Coast. The original structure, built in the 1880s, fell to a storm in 1890. It was rebuilt in 1896, then destroyed again by severe weather six years later. The most recent version opened to the public in 1987.

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