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Oceanside Pier fire rips through vacant restaurant



Oceanside Pier fire rips through vacant restaurant

Editor’s word: A earlier model of this text included a video that contained an error. That video has been eliminated.

OCEANSIDE, Calif. (FOX 5/KUSI) — A fireplace broke out on the enduring Oceanside Pier Thursday afternoon, main to an enormous, hours-long firefight that stopped the flames from engulfing the complete construction.

The blaze was reported at 3 p.m. Thursday on the finish of the historic pier, a serious vacationer attraction in Southern California. Flames ripped by way of a now-vacant restaurant constructing that previously housed a Ruby’s Diner, sending a big plume of black smoke billowing overhead.

Residents as far east as Vista and as far south as Del Mar reported with the ability to see the smoke.

About 200 personnel — from fireplace crews to police — had been on scene minutes later. A number of vessels, together with three U.S. Coast Guard ships, fought the fireplace from the ocean, whereas San Diego County Sheriff’s Division and San Diego Gasoline & Electrical helicopters made overhead water drops.

Wind was inflicting issues for firefighters battling the pier fireplace, with particular person gusts hitting round 17 to twenty miles per hour round 4:45 p.m. Round 5 p.m., the thick black smoke started to subside, though heavy plumes of white smoke continued to blow from the construction.

North County Fireplace Safety District issued a hearth advisory as a result of heavy smoke Thursday afternoon that might impression the Fallbrook and Bonsall communities to the northeast of the coastal metropolis — circumstances that had been “a lot improved” by Friday morning.

Shortly earlier than 6 p.m., Oceanside Fireplace Chief David Parsons stated crews had stopped ahead progress of the fireplace round 15 ft previous the part of the pier the place the restaurant was positioned, known as the “hammerhead.”

The hearth on the Oceanside Pier as of 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, 2024. (Courtesy of town of Oceanside)

“We put a cease to a really tough and distinctive fireplace,” Parsons stated in a press convention round 7 p.m. “We had been involved that it was going to take out the pier … It’s a wooden construction, all the things on that’s flamable.”

All staff had been accounted for and no accidents had been reported, in response to Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez. No accidents had been reported to any personnel who battled the fireplace.

Crews remained on scene in a single day to proceed attacking any remaining flames and leftover smoldering. In accordance with Parsons, there was a bit of fireside exercise, together with some that was managed to get entry to hard-to-reach spots beneath the deck.

Oceanside firefighters and water boats had been nonetheless persevering with these efforts to comprise the blaze by 10 a.m. on Friday. Parsons added that they haven’t declared the fireplace below management but, however are “virtually there.” The hearth chief stated that he’s optimistic all fireplace exercise will subside by Saturday.

The Brine Field because it appeared Thursday, April 25 throughout a hearth at Oceanside Pier. (KSWB/KUSI)

Every thing across the hammerhead space appeared to have sustained “vital injury” from the fireplace, the fireplace chief stated. This consists of the pier’s decking and substructure, the restaurant and a small kiosk that housed one other eatery, known as the Brine Field. The roof of the now-shuttered Ruby’s later collapsed into itself.

“What’s occurring on the pier is unhappy and scary,” Brine Field, the fish and chips store, stated in an Instagram put up that was up to date Friday morning. “Chef Rachel noticed smoke arising from beneath the pier, behind the outdated Ruby’s constructing and known as 911. Fortunately, everybody was evacuated safely. We’ll preserve you up to date as we be taught extra.”

On Friday, Parsons stated that 90 p.c of the pier seems to have been unimpacted as a result of intensive firefighting efforts. Engineers have been introduced in to determine what components of the pier are salvageable or structurally sound.

“The hammerhead … that is kind of a complete loss,” Oceanside Deputy Fireplace Chief Jess Specht stated Friday afternoon.

Round 10 a.m. Friday, the fireplace chief stated they had been stopping all operations to enter what known as a “tactical pause,” as to permit crews to evaluate the scene with none exercise. This included use of drones to try the fires’ impression in hard-to-reach spots below the deck.

All through Friday afternoon, floor crews started particles removing on the pier — work that may proceed till 7 p.m. and resume Saturday morning.

An aerial view of the former Ruby's diner at the Oceanside Pier on Friday, April 26, 2024 following a massive fire. (SkyFOX/KUSI in the Sky)
An aerial view of the previous Ruby’s diner on the Oceanside Pier on Friday, April 26, 2024 following a large fireplace. (SkyFOX/KUSI within the Sky)

“We’re moving into and primarily peeling aside the constructing to open it up for the water streams to hit,” Specht stated of those particles removing efforts.

On Friday night, fireplace officers declared the fireplace below management, that means that every one ahead progress on the fireplace has been stopped.

“We’re assured that we are able to transfer into the overhaul section, which is simply persevering with to watch the circumstances, guaranteeing there aren’t any hidden fires which might be going to flare up, and that’s our plan for this night,” stated Blake Dorse, Division Chief with the Oceanside Fireplace Division.

Just one engine will stay on scene in a single day below fireplace watch, Dorse added.

A trigger has not been decided, however Parsons stated Oceanside Fireplace investigators can be introduced in to determine its origin. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is aiding within the investigation.

Up to now, fireplace officers “haven’t dominated out something when it comes to a trigger,” Parsons stated, updating the fireplace investigation as “12 to 24 hours” to a “multi-day, doubtlessly multi-week course of.”

The injury from the fireplace on the Oceanside Pier on April 26, 2024.

Dorse squashed the rumor concerning the standpipe system on the pier that was not too long ago put in not getting used, as an alternative saying that it was used.

“The query arose since you noticed rather a lot hose laying out on the pier as properly, the explanation for that’s that we wished to have as a lot water on the big fireplace that you just noticed as attainable, so the best way that we do that’s to place further hose in place,” he stated.

Within the meantime, officers have issued a seaside closure for a stretch of the Oceanside coast south of the pier from Surfrider within the north to Tyson Road within the south as a precaution as a result of falling particles that will have washed on shore. Signage and barricades have been positioned in these areas.

The Coast Guard has additionally enacted a 500-yard security zone across the pier, and a brief flight restriction was put in place close to the pier to forestall interference with authorities’ drones.

“We do have particles washing up on shore,” Parsons stated. “We are able to’t police each inch of this seaside and it’s a public security situation if individuals are coming into this water … We don’t need individuals getting sick and contacting the doubtless contaminated water.”

The pier and the Junior Seau Seaside Recreation Heart will equally stay closed till additional discover, metropolis officers say. The small Harbor Pier that neighbors the construction, nonetheless, will stay open for fishing.

It’s unclear when the seashores might reopen at this level. In accordance with Parsons, that willpower is made based mostly on water high quality and the county might want to pattern it earlier than giving the all clear. He added that county well being officers can be on web site at 7 a.m. on Saturday to check the water close to the pier for any hazards.

Simply hours after the fireplace started, Mayor Sanchez advised FOX 5/KUSI that town is dedicated to rebuilding the pier, including that she has been involved with Rep. Mike Levin (D-49), state Sen. Catherine Blakespear and San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

Oceanside officers stated they’re within the means of proclaiming a neighborhood emergency to open up funding for the pier’s restore. The coastal metropolis’s legislative delegation can also be engaged on a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom and President Joe Biden to ask for emergency monetary help.

“We’re going to get our pier again,” Sanchez stated in a telephone name with FOX 5 on Thursday, talking to the residents of Oceanside. “For now, should you may avoid the realm to ensure that our public security autos are capable of undergo.”

An emergency Oceanside Metropolis Council assembly can be held on Wednesday to ratify the proclamation for a neighborhood emergency, per fireplace officers.

The Oceanside Pier was initially in-built 1888, however has been rebuilt a number of occasions as a result of injury sustained in fires and storms. The present pier, which was erected in 1987 to the south of the unique pier’s location, marked the sixth reincarnation of the construction, in response to Kristi Hawthorne with the Oceanside Historic Society. 

Side-by-side of what the Oceanside Pier looked like before and after the fire on April 25, 2024. (FOX 5)
Aspect-by-side of what the Oceanside Pier regarded like earlier than and after the fireplace on April 25, 2024. (FOX 5)

The restaurant on the finish of the pier grew to become a characteristic a number of years earlier, within the Nineteen Seventies. Nevertheless, the constructing has been vacant since February 2021, when the Ruby’s Diner location closed its doorways after 25 years.

Standing at 1,954 ft in size, the wood pier is the second longest of its form in California and the longest in Southern California.

Final 12 months, town poured round $5.5 million into upgrades for the pier, together with new electrical techniques and pipes. In accordance with Sanchez, work was additionally being performed to replace the pier’s fireplace system — one thing the mayor stated prevented this fireplace from damaging the complete construction.

Sanchez added that there was renovation work being performed contained in the restaurant previous to the fireplace Thursday, however particulars about what was going to interchange the Ruby’s as soon as the work neared completion weren’t disclosed.

“We’ve all the time rebuilt,” Hawthorne stated. “The piers have grown with town.”

Regardless, Oceanside residents have been left reeling over the pier’s probably closure for repairs.

“Thank God I obtained to run on it yesterday, as a result of I don’t know the way quickly I’ll have the ability to get again on it,” one resident, Amy Papacek, advised FOX 5/KUSI. “It’s what you consider if you consider Oceanside, it’s iconic.”

“It’ll be a really vital situation, as a result of the pier itself attracts over a million individuals right here and consequently, it brings us individuals into the downtown regularly,” stated Kim Heim with Fundamental Road Oceanside.

Above: FOX 5’s Kasia Gregorcyzk on how residents are reacting to the pier fireplace.

“That is greater than only a landmark for the remainder of our area. It is a piece of house to generations of Oceansiders,” Oceanside Metropolis Councilmember Eric Joyce stated on Friday. “While you speak to the individuals strolling round, they’re nonetheless in shock. We’re going to be going by way of some grieving as a neighborhood.”

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