Blackpool Central Pier fire destroys fairground ride
A large fire has damaged parts of Blackpool's historic Central Pier just a week after it reopened.
The blaze completely destroyed a fairground ride and damaged an engineering shed about halfway along the seaside attraction.
Aerial photos from the scene show a charred section of the structure, made from cast iron and wood, where the ride once stood.
Mark Marshall, of the Blackpool Pier Company, said he was "devastated".
He said a structural engineer would assess the damage and the company was "hoping with every fibre of our body" the pier would be safe to reopen again soon.
It welcomed its first visitors in months just a week ago after lockdown restrictions were eased.
Some 50 firefighters tackled the blaze at its height, with 10 fire engines sent to the scene.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said crews arrived just after 03:00 BST to find the ride and engineering shed well alight.
Incident commander Mark Winder said it was soon brought under control thanks to "some fantastic early intervention" by crews.
"Fortunately we had some of the conditions in our favour so we did not have a particularly strong wind and the tide was out, so we were able to tackle the fire below from the beach as well," he said.
An investigation into the cause of the fire has begun, he added.
The Promenade around the pier was closed for a time, but has since reopened.
- The fall and rise of the seaside pier
- Pier of the Year award for town's 'beating heart'
- Blackpool's piers on world monument 'at risk' list
- The Grade II listed North Pier opened in 1863 and is the oldest remaining example of a pier designed by celebrated seaside architect Eugenius Birch. It suffered substantial storm damage in 2013
- Central Pier followed in 1868. A 33m-high (108ft) Ferris wheel known as the Big Wheel was installed in 1990
- South Pier, originally called Victoria Pier, is the youngest of the three structures, opening in 1893