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Seal Beach Pier has been battered by fires, storms and quakes

The Seal Beach Pier, where a fire destroyed an abandoned restaurant on Friday, has a tumultuous history.

Over a century, it has been battered by Mother Nature and fire. Hurricane winds and huge breakers cut the pier in half in 1939. The rebuilt pier was again assaulted in 1983, when massive storm waves cresting beneath the pier lifted 1,140 feet of deck off its pilings.

The pier was considered such an integral part of the city’s identity that it was rebuilt again 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.

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The 1994 fire was particularly dramatic. Flames burst from the middle of the pier, stranding a crowd of fishermen, strollers and diners until firefighters were able to douse the fire and hose down smoldering planks.

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The 1992 fire started in the same general area and was sparked by electrical wires in a lifeguard tower that has since been relocated. A few months later the Big Bear earthquake cracked the pier’s support pilings. In 1983, a fierce winter storm damaged the midsection.

The 1,865-foot structure is the longest pier in Orange County and was built in 1906. Sunset magazine declared it one of its favorite West Coast piers.

shelby.grad@latimes.com

Twitter: @shelbygrad

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