Southend Pier Destroyed (1976)
One hundred people used boats to escape the fire that broke out on the Southend Pier in 1976. As there was a low tide, firefighters struggled to manage the fire due to a very limited water supply and the damage was so extensive that, at the time, it was estimated that the repairs would cost over £1 million. Thousands of holiday makers watched as unusually strong winds fanned the flames that engulfed the structure for just over four hours. It was suggested that the fire began in a small restaurant on the pier, but this has since been disputed and the exact cause is still not known. Smoke from the blaze hung in the air for 3 days!