Historic English pier engulfed in flames

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Associated Press

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 11:01 AM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 30 at 12:33 PM

LONDON (AP) — A huge fire sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air has engulfed the historic Eastbourne Pier on the English seafront, 70 miles southeast of London.

The East Sussex fire service responded with roughly 60 firefighters Wednesday as beachgoers watched in horror.

Fire officials said people on the pier had been safely evacuated and there did not seem to be any injuries. Damage to the wooden structure appeared to be severe.

Lifeboats from several nearby towns were also on the scene in an effort to control the fire — the latest in a series of blazes to hit southern England's aging piers.

The Eastbourne Pier is a popular wedding venue and entertainment center.

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