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Historic Eastbourne Pier southeast of London engulfed in flames; no injuries reported

Britain Eastbourne Pier Fire -1.jpg

A fire has broken out on Eastbourne Pier, East Sussex, England, Wednesday, July 30, 2014. East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service crews are at the scene of the incident which has been documented by onlookers posting photographs on Twitter. (AP Photo/PA, Tom Pugh) UNITED KINGDOM OUT (The Associated Press)

A huge fire sending thick plumes of black smoke into the air has engulfed the historic Eastbourne Pier on the English seafront, 70 miles southeast of London.

The East Sussex fire service responded with roughly 60 firefighters Wednesday as beachgoers watched in horror.

Fire officials said people on the pier had been safely evacuated and there did not seem to be any injuries. Damage to the wooden structure appeared to be severe.

Lifeboats from several nearby towns were also on the scene in an effort to control the fire — the latest in a series of blazes to hit southern England's aging piers.

The Eastbourne Pier is a popular wedding venue and entertainment center.