Brighton fire crew keeps distance from beach bonfire to avoid inflaming revellers

Posted On 02 Aug 2011 at 4:42 pm

A fire chief is urging people not to hold bonfires on the beach after a crew was called to one on Brighton seafront.

The crew, from Preston Circus, did not put out the bonfire, which had about 50 to 100 people around it, for fear of trouble starting.

Sussex Police alerted East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service to the blaze on the beach near the junction of West Street and King’s Road.

But when the fire crew turned out, there were no police on hand in case the mood changed among those in high spirits around the fire.

Keith Ring, the fire service borough commander, said: “The incident commander made the decision not to extinguish the fire because no lives were in danger and there was no danger of the fire spreading and it was controlled burning.

“The area was considered to be safe due to it being located in an open space and the public were able to move away from the fire.

“Due to the high-spirited revellers it was also decided that crews would leave, not only for their own protection but for the safety and security of the appliance and equipment.”


A spokesman for Sussex Police said: “Police alerted East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (ESFRS) to a bonfire being held on the beach at the bottom of West Street, Brighton, at around 3.15am on Saturday 30 July.

“ESFRS attended and assessed the situation, making the decision not to extinguish the fire as it was controlled and no lives were at risk.

“Police were satisfied with the assessment made by ESFRS and received no reports of any crime or disorder taking place and therefore did not attend the scene.

“Sussex Police will always attend an incident to support our partner emergency services when we are needed.”

Mr Ring urged people not to hold bonfires or barbecues on the beach.

He said: “Stones can heat up due to smouldering fires or unattended barbecues being left on the beach.

“This can result in burns to innocent members of the public and especially families with young children enjoying the beach the following day.

“The public are urged to be mindful of their actions and to consider the safety of others and not to have barbecues or fires on the beach.”

The beach is in an area – between the piers – where barbecues are banned. The ban also covers the beaches from the bottom of Fourth Avenue in Hove to the bottom of Hove Street, behind the King Alfred Leisure Centre.

On other beaches, barbecues are allowed only after 6pm.

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