Date: 28th July 2008.
Pictures courtesy Fishboy & BBC News

One of the UK's foremost seaside attractions went up in flames today as fire destroyed a large part of Weston-super-Mare's pier.

The pier before the fire
Weston-super-Mare pier before the fire

The quarter-mile long pier, located in north Somerset in England's south-west corner, was 104 years old and had been purchased earlier this year by brother and sister Kerry and Michelle Michael who were committed to developing it into a major tourist attraction.

Weston-super-Mare pier

The fire at Weston-super-Mare pier
The fire at Weston-super-Mare pier

As part of this development, the owners had recently spent £1 million ($2 million) upgrading the facilities and installed a number of new Stern machines in the pier's arcade.

The games before the fire
The games before the fire

A new Indiana Jones, a Spider-Man and a Pirates Of The Caribbean were sited there and had been joined by a new-in-box Shrek machine just a few days before the fire, which is believed to have destroyed them all.

Equipment engulfed in the flames
Equipment engulfed in the flames

The pier has burned down before - the last time in 1930 - and been rebuilt, although that time it took three years. But the good news is how nobody was hurt and how the foundations of the structure are thought to have survived the fire. The thick hardwood floor also held, making any restoration that much easier.

Mr Michael said he and his sister were "absolutely devastated" by the fire but would "work tirelessly to restore" the pier.

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