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August 2 2014.

Dramatic new video footage captured by an RNLI lifeboat crewman reveals for the first time how the emergency services battled to bring the Eastbourne pier fire under control from the deck of a lifeboat.
 The film was shot on a helmet camera worn by a volunteer crew member of Newhaven RNLI on board its Severn class lifeboat Volunteer Spirit.

The footage shows members of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service battling the flames from the charity’s lifeboats as smoke billowed into the sky. It also reveals how volunteer lifeboat crews used powerful water hoses to dampen down the deck of pier to stop the flames spreading further up the historic structure. Fresh video footage shot from Hastings all-weather lifeboat Sealink Endeavour also shows RNLI volunteer crews and firefighters in action.

Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne met with RNLI lifeboat crew members at Eastbourne, including Coxswain Mark Sawyer to thank them for their efforts during the pier fire. They were told how on Wednesday the 30th of July both Eastbourne RNLI lifeboats were requested to attend the evacuation of the pier when fire was discovered behind panelling at the rear of the amusement hall.

Satisfied that all members of the public had been safely led away, attention was shifted to assisting firefighters in their operation to tackle the flames which rapidly threatened to spread out of control. Lifeboats from the flank stations of Hastings and Newhaven were soon called upon to take part in the operation that saved most of the seaward end of the pier. Firefighters and water pumps were ferried from the beach to RNLI all-weather lifeboats where they were set up at the seaward end of the pier in a desperate bid to save the majority of the structure.

Alan Novis from Newhaven lifeboat station said: ‘This video footage gives a lifeboat crewman’s eye view of what it was like as we helped firefighters battle to save the pier.

‘We had RNLI lifeboats from three stations working alongside firefighters to help them tackle the blaze. It was sad to see such a grand old landmark ravaged by fire, but I’m pleased we were able to stop the flames spreading further up the pier.’

View video footage shot by photographer Eddie Mitchell of the pier fire from the air HERE.

View footage of the fire shot by Eastbourne RNLI lifeboat Coxswain Mark Sawyer HERE.