A PIER fire could have been accidental or deliberate, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service says.

Part of Harwich’s Ha’Penny Pier, one of the UK’s only surviving wooden, working piers, caught fire at about 11.35pm yesterday.

The blaze is believed to have broken out at the corner of the outer arm of the 19th century structure.

After spotting the flames, some youngsters are believed to have raised the alarm and called Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Iconic - Ha'Penny Pier Picture: Steve Brading

They also attempted to put out the fire with buckets of water while waiting for a fire engine to arrive at the scene.

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 a historic pier in Harwich.The wind had fanned the flames from a smouldering beam.”

Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze by 12.07am.

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

Fire - firefighters at the scene of the blaze Picture: Tony O'Neill 

It is not yet known how the fire started, and has been recorded as accidental or deliberate by fire bosses.

Fiona Brunning, communication manager for Harwich Haven Authority, said: “We have 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.”

Harwich and Manningtree Standard:

View - a bird's eye view of the pier 

Ms Brunning added: “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 help to save Ha’Penny Pier or do you know who did? If so, we would like to speak to you. Contact us by emailing hms.news@newsquest.co.uk.