Fire Rips Through Former Ruby’s Diner On Seal Beach Pier


SANDRA: I’M SANDRA MITCHELL. OUR TOP STORY TODAY AT NOON, UP IN FLAMES, THE OLD RUBY’S DINER ON THE SEAL BEACH PIER HAS BEEN DESTROYED. IN A MASSIVE FIRE. KCAL 9 ORANGE COUNTY REPORTER IS THERE LIVE. MICHELLE, I KNOW SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE GREAT MEMORIES OF THIS SPOT. PEOPLE ARE REALLY EMOTIONAL ABOUT THIS TODAY, SANDRA. THE ON SHORE BREEZE THAT’S NOW COMING ON SHORE IS KICKING UP THE FLAMES. IT CONTINUES TO 4 1/2 HOURS AFTER THIS PIER AND THIS OLD RESTAURANT CAUGHT FIRE. YOU KNOW, YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT 24 HOURS A DAY, FISHERMEN, TOURISTS, PEOPLE WHO LIVE HERE ARE ALLOWED TO GO AS FAR AS THAT DIP IN THE PIER. IT IS ABOUT 100 FEET FROM THE END, BUT NOW THE ENTIRE PIER HAS BEEN CLOSED INDEFINITELY. NOW, THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S MINDS, COULD SOMEONE OUT THERE THIS MORNING HAVE STARTED THIS FIRE? NO WORD ON A CAUSE, BUT EVERYONE IS WONDERING. IT WAS TOTALLY OUT OF CONTROL. IT WAS CRAZY. ALL THESE FIREMEN CAME AND WOW, YOU KNOW, WHAT A SPECTACLE, HUH? WHAT A WAKE-UP CALL FOR SEAL BEACH AS BLACK SMOKE SHOT INTO THE SKY FROM THE OLD RESTAURANT ON FIRE AT THE END OF THE TOWN’S WOODEN PIER. WHEN I LOOKED AND SAW THE WHOLE END OF THE PIER REALLY FLAMING, BIG, BIG PLUMES OF VERY BLACK SMOKE. IT’S UNCLEAR WHETHER THE VACANT RUBY’S RESTAURANT AT THE END OF THE PIER CAUGHT FIRE FIRST OR THE 110-YEAR-OLD WOODEN STRUCTURE. THIS COUPLE WERE EATING BREAKFAST AT THE ENTRANCE TO THE PIER AND SAW IT ALL. IT WAS KIND OF A LIGHT BROWN SMOKE AND THEN IT TURNED BLACK AND THAT’S WHEN THE FIRE TRUCKS STARTED SHOWING UP. YOU COULD SEE BIG FLAMES. THE FIREFIGHT WAS A CHALLENGE. ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY CREWS HAD TO RUN NEARLY 2,000 FEET OF HEAVY HOSES DOWN THE PIER TO THE FLAMES. MEANTIME, EIGHT FIREBOATS FROM LONG BEACH, L.A. COUNTY, AND THE ORANGE COUNTY HARBOR PATROL ATTACKED THE FIRE FROM THE WATER. WITHIN THE HOUR, WE WERE ABLE TO GET A CLOSE-UP VIEW OF THE BURNED OUT RESTAURANT STANDING ON THE PIER. THERE ARE POCKETS OF FLAMES STILL BURNING IN HIDDEN SPACES. MEANTIME, SCUBA DIVERS HAVE COME ON THE SCENE. AND ARE IN THE WATER CHECKING PILINGS AND TO MAKE SURE THE FIRE UNDERNEATH THE PIER IS OUT. IT’S BEEN CLOSED A WHILE NOW. I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE STORY ON THAT IS. IT IS KIND OF A MYSTERIOUS FIRE NOW SUDDENLY, YOU KNOW, CLOSED FOR A WHILE, NOW, IT’S BURNING SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON. THE $64,000 QUESTION IS THIS AN ARSON FIRE AT THIS POINT? THE OFFICIALS ARE NOT ABLE TO SAY. INSPECTORS ON SCENE TRYING TO DETERMINE EXACTLY HOW THE FIRE BEGAN. THE ONE BIG QUESTION ALSO IS THE CHALLENGE FIGHTING THIS FIRE, YOU HAVE A WOODEN BUILDING ON A WOODEN PIER. YOUR GUYS RACED TO THE SCENE, TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES. WELL, OUR FIREFIGHTERS HOOKED UP RIGHT AWAY. THEY WERE FIGHTING THE FIRE BOTH FROM THE PIER AS WELL AS FIREBOATS FROM THE OCEAN. AT SOME POINT, THAT PIPE DID FAIL. AND SO THEN OUR FIREFIGHTERS HAD THE ARDUOUS TASK OF LAYING HOSE LINE PROBABLY OVER 1500 FEET FROM WHERE THE FIRE STARTED UNTIL THE END OF THE PIER. IT HAMPERED OUR EFFORTS, BUT AGAIN THE BOATS AND FIREFIGHTERS WORKING EXTREMELY HARD CONTAINED IT TO THE PROBUILDINGS OUT THERE. — THE TWO BUILDINGS OUT THERE. THERE IS A PIPE THAT RUNS THE LENGTH OF THE PIER THAT CARRIES WATER. THAT WATER WAS NOT THERE WHEN YOUR CREWS ARRIVED. IT DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE HOSES AT THE END. IT WAS WORKING INITIALLY AND THERE WAS SOME SORT OF FAILURE. SO OUR FIRE ENGINES PUMPED WATER THROUGH THAT PIPE. OUR FIREFIGHTERS HOOK UP TO THAT PIPE AND FIGHT THE FIRE. AT SOME POINT IT DID FAIL. STEVE, THE ORANGE COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY, ANOTHER THING THAT WE SHOULD MENTION REALLY QUICKLY IS THERE ARE CREWS THAT SERVICE THE OIL PLATFORM RIGHT OFF THE PIER HERE. THEY USE THIS PIER TO GET TO THAT OIL PLATFORM.

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