IT has been over 15 years since a massive fire swept through The Grand Pier in Weston.

On July 28, 2008, Royal Hotel night manager, Harry Stevenson, called the fire brigade when he noticed smoke coming from the first floor of the tower of the main pavilion at around 7am.

Speaking at the time, he said: "I called the fire brigade and they arrived within five minutes. It was about 10 or 15 minutes before you could see the glow of the flames.

"It was upsetting, I've lived here since 1989 and it's a big part of the town."

Fire crews raced to the scene as roads around the pier closed.

However, due to concerns over the structure of the pier, firefighters were shortly removed until it was deemed safe by structural engineers.

The blaze continued for over nine hours as crew members hosed down the smouldering ruins.

Owners of The Grand Pier, Kerry and Michelle Michael, issued a statement alongside fire chief at the time, Kevin Pearson. They said: "When we purchased The Grand Pier in February of this year we regarded ourselves as custodians rather than owners, just looking after it for future generations to enjoy.

"For this tragic event to have taken place on our watch is truly devastating.

"I feel very sorry for our dedicated staff, many of who have been on the pier all of their working lives.

"They all treasured the pier, in particular the main pavilion, and I don't know how they will come to terms with its sad loss.

"I feel very sorry for the people of Weston. The pier was Weston and Weston was the pier.

"In these difficult economic times, I sincerely hope this event doesn't bring further hardship to those businesses and people who rely on our tourist trade.

"I would like to assure all those people I have mentioned as well as any others that may be affected that we will work tirelessly to restore this magnificent structure to its former glory.

"Weston is a tourist town and I am sure the redevelopment of the seafront and surrounding area will continue in earnest and our town and visitors will continue to enjoy its resources for many years to come."

The Environment Agency said that the fire did not seem to have caused any long-lasting damage to the surrounding beach and water.