The fire which ripped through Eastbourne Pier yesterday has destroyed one third of the structure, fire crews have said.
The blaze broke out on Wednesday afternoon behind some wood panelling in the arcade building. It is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault.
Chief fire officer Des Pritchard said the outgoing tide had hampered crews, but they had managed to save the remaining two-thirds of the Victorian pier, which opened in 1870.
However, the arcade – formerly a ballroom – was completed gutted and is now a metal skeleton.
Pritchard, of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Pier fires are very difficult to fight because there’s only one way on to the pier from the land side.”
He added that most of the hotspots had been extinguished overnight.
Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne Stephen Lloyd is chairing a committee which will examine how to restore the pier.
He said: “The good news is that we don’t have a Brighton or Hastings scenario where the whole pier is destroyed.”
He is due to meet the pier’s owners and local councillors later to discuss the blaze and its aftermath.
Fire minister Penny Mordaunt said she would visit the pier “as a priority”.
Pier fires - a history
Grand Pier in Weston-super-Mare - damaged by fires in 1930 and 2008
Hastings Pier - almost destroyed by a fire on 5 October 2010
West Pier in Brighton - burned down in 2003
Indian Pavilion on Blackpool’s North Pier - destroyed by fire in 1921
South Parade Pier in Southsea - destroyed by fires in 1904 and 1974