Massive Fire in California’s Iconic Oceanside Pier Suffers Widespread Damage

The far end of the Oceanside Pier was the scene of a fire that firefighters responded to on Thursday afternoon. According to David Parsons, Oceanside’s fire chief, lifeguards were the first to report the fire.

The fire started in the afternoon and persisted all night and into the next day. Upon arrival, two fireboats unleashed powerful water cannons on the building at the end of the pier. The Ruby’s Diner structure, which stood near the end of the pier, was destroyed. A single lifeguard truck was stationed at the foot of the dock, and one or two long fire hoses ran along the length of the pier.

Rather than trying to rescue the restaurant, the fire crews opted to prioritize rescuing the remainder of the pier, according to Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez. An unusual water drop on a building fire was carried out by a helicopter operated by Cal Fire and the San Diego Sheriff’s Department at 4:21. Around 4:35, the newly-acquired Triton firefighting vessel from San Diego Fire-Rescue headed over to provide a hand with the continuing operations.

The Famous High Pie at the Top Gun House and other businesses along the pier had to shut their doors because of the smoke and ash that the onshore winds carried to the beach.

An additional firefighting aircraft operated by SDG&E attended to the pier fire around 5:15 p.m. By 5:30 p.m., debris from the pier, some of it burned and broken, had washed up on the beach.

Firefighters were still trying to put out the blaze at the restaurant building around 10 p.m. The workers’ preemptive actions, including removing planks and constructing a trench across the width of the pier, have given officials confidence that the fire will stay contained to the end of the dock.

In 1976, the Pier Fish Market and the Pier Cafe were destroyed in fires that broke out in the exact location.