Official: Seal Beach Pier fire ignited by electrical glitch

- A fire in an abandoned restaurant on the Seal Beach Pier that injured one firefighter was ignited by some kind of electrical issue in a nearby shuttered bait shack, authorities said Tuesday.

The blaze started about 7:35 a.m. May 20 at the old Ruby's restaurant, which is at the end of the approximately 2,000-foot-long pier, Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi said.

Firefighters on the pier and in fire boats poured water on the flames, which engulfed the structure and also burned beneath the pier.

The former restaurant and the bait shack were destroyed in the blaze, Concialdi said. The fire was under control at 9:05 a.m.

A firefighter's shoulder was dislocated by a blast of water from one of the boats and he was taken to an area hospital for treatment, Concialdi said.

A water pipe under the pier failed during the firefighting, making it more difficult to attack the flames, Concialdi said.

Electrical current was flowing to the restaurant and bait shack, as well as a boat gantry on the pier, according to OCFA Capt. Larry Kurtz.

Some kind of issue that arose in the bait shack sparked the blaze, which spread, probably through a combination of wind and radiant heat, to the restaurant, Kurtz said.

"For some reason, there was electrical power still present in the line going to the bait shack,'' even though it had been shuttered for about 10 years, Kurtz said.   

He didn't know the nature of the specific electrical issue that caused the fire, but said a detailed report will be released by the city once it is finalized by the fire authority.

The Ruby's restaurant had been closed for about three years, he said.

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