A HISTORIC pier was saved from possible destruction following the quick actions of youngsters.

Part of Ha'Penny Pier, in View Point Road, Harwich, caught fire at about 11.35pm last night.

The blaze reportedly broke out at the corner of the outer arm of the ancient structure.

After spotting the flames, some young locals called Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and attempted to put out the fire with buckets of water while waiting for a fire engine to arrive at the scene.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Blaze - firefighters put out the blaze at Ha'Penny Pier Picture: Tony O'Neill 

Tony O'Neill, from the Pharos Trust which owns the LV18 lightship near the pier, said: "The quick actions of some young locals who called the fire brigade possibly saved an historic pier in Harwich.

"The youngsters attempted to put out the fire with buckets of water, which had broken out at the corner of the outer arm of the ancient structure.

"The wind had fanned the flames from a smouldering beam."

Mr O'Neill said firefighters were quickly on the scene and extinguished the blaze.

He added: "The youngsters' quick actions could well have avoided the destruction of this popular tourist pier in the heart of old Harwich."

It is not yet known how the fire started.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said the fire was put out by 12.07pm.

Fiona Brunning, communication manager at Harwich Haven Authority, said: “We can confirm that Essex Fire and Rescue were called to attend a small fire on Ha’penny Pier.

“Ha’penny Pier is owned and maintained by Harwich Haven Authority.

“The fire started in the outer arm of the pier’s structure, adjacent to our berthing pontoons. The cause of the fire is yet unknown. Harwich Haven Authority has commenced an investigation to ascertain the cause of the fire and is reviewing CCTV footage from cameras located across the pier. 

“No structural damage to the pier has been caused by the fire.

“We give our thanks to both members of the public and Essex Fire and Rescue for their quick attendance at the fire.

“Ha’penny Pier is an iconic landmark in Harwich and remains one of the only surviving working, wooden pier in the UK. It was built in 1852 as a departure point for passengers boarding paddle steamers.”

Did you see the fire? If you have any pictures email hms.news@newsquest.co.uk.