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Fire destroys old Ruby's Diner and damages Seal Beach Pier

Flames erupted Friday morning at Seal Beach Pier, destroying the old Ruby's Diner and sending a column of smoke over the area.

The fire began just after 7:30 a.m. at the end of the pier in the 900 block of Ocean Avenue in Seal Beach.

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Flames were spotted under the pier, with fire extending to the abandoned restaurant, said Capt. Larry Kurtz of the Orange County Fire Authority. 

At least 70 firefighters and eight fire boats tackled the flames as they swept through the 1950s-themed diner. By 9 a.m., most of the flames had been extinguished.

"There is some involvement to the pier but not too much," he said ."Pier inspectors will look at the integrity of the wood and determine what repairs need to be made in order for it to be safe to the public again."

The Orange County Sheriff's Department sent a harbor patrol boat to help fight the blaze, spokesman Lt. Mark Stichter said and the Long Beach and Los Angeles County fire departments also assisted.

The Seal Beach Pier has been damaged and destroyed several times over the decades by storms and fire. In 1983, the pier was damaged when huge storm waves cresting beneath it lifted 1,140 feet of the 1,835-foot deck off its pilings. The pier, an iconic part of the city's identity, was rebuilt with the help of private donations. The new pier was built of wood to preserve its historic look. Fire damaged the pier in 1992 and 1994, but each time it was restored.

The restaurant closed in 2013 after operating at the pier for 25 years.

At the time, Seal Beach officials said the restaurant chain had decided not extend its agreement with the city.

Seal Beach later declared the restaurant a public nuisance due to "multiple deficiencies and unsafe conditions," the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

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UPDATES:

9:29 a.m.: This story was updated with more information about Ruby's Diner and the Seal Beach Pier.

This story was originally posted at 8:22 a.m.

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