Page last updated at 14:48 GMT, Monday, 28 July 2008 15:48 UK

Eye-witness accounts of pier fire

Weston-super-Mare Grand Pier: photo Caron Parsons
Hundreds of people witnessed the Grand Pier in Weston-Super-Mare being destroyed by fire on Monday morning.

Here are some eye-witness accounts of when the flames engulfed the 104-year-old structure.

EMOTIONAL FOR ALL LOCALS

Elaine Parker, who lives in the resort, e-mailed: "I heard via a friend that the pier was on fire so I drove down to the seafront to see.

"What a scene - the smoke was hundreds of feet in the air. It was very emotional for all the locals, we have all got stories of visiting the pier."

HEART OF OUR COMMUNITY

Rachael King lives on the seafront and saw the flames as she looked out of her flat.

"I live on the seafront and as I looked out of my flat, I could see the flames fill the windows, a massive ball of fire - we are devastated.

"I moved here four years ago and this is at the heart of our community."

WESTON'S SKYLINE EMPTY

Nina Greaves said the pier is a much-loved part of life in the seaside town.

"As I left the house I saw the billowing cloud of smoke and it stopped me in my tracks. Everyone loves the pier, it's tradition to walk along the pier in the summer, even if you live here, you never tire of it's attraction.

"Weston's skyline is empty without a pier."

SMOKE FROM 60 MILES AWAY

"I was driving back to Bristol this morning from Devon and I could see the smoke from before Taunton - that's about 60 miles away - such a sad day," Nina Adams said.

OVERLOOKING THE PIER

Neil contacted BBC News about his sadness at the loss of the pier which he can see from his home.

"From where I live I overlook the pier and it burned from the North East tower and spread so quickly that it is now (one and a half hours later) almost completely burned out.

"Weston has lost its last major attraction."

HUGE PLUME OF SMOKE

Kev Nolan was on his way to work when he saw the smoke.

"I was waiting at Yatton railway station at 0730 BST, some six miles or so from Weston.

"A huge plume of smoke was visible towering about quarter of a mile above the scene."

BUILDING BECAME SKELETAL
Singer Ray Merrell, 75, was metal detecting on the beach this morning when he saw the plume of smoke.

"As I walked my way up towards the town, I could see the billowing smoke worsening. Then all of a sudden the flames surged. It was an explosion of flame, no bang.

"It started to get hold of the building and within minutes it had become skeletal."




SEE ALSO
Huge fire destroys historic pier
28 Jul 08 |  Somerset
Your pictures: Weston pier fire
28 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Weston pier fire in video
28 Jul 08 |  UK

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