Oceanside pier fire response and repair costs exceed $17 million

May 23, 2024

Fire damage response and initial cost estimates

As reported by The San Diego Union Tribune, response and repair costs for the April 25 fire at the Oceanside Municipal Pier could top $17.2 million, according to Oceanside Fire Chief David Parsons.

The fire, which destroyed two buildings at the end of the pier, has incurred significant expenses, primarily for debris removal and repair or replacement of the damaged section, estimated at $16.9 million.

“The largest percentage of costs is for debris removal and repair or replacement of the damaged portion of the pier, estimated at $16.9 million,” Parsons said.

“The rest is a combination of personnel, fuel, food, emergency fencing and lighting, and other supplies for a multi-day operation.”

Fire response and public safety efforts

Firefighters and other public safety employees have been praised for their swift response, which prevented the spread of flames within hours.

Despite the challenging conditions, 93 percent of the pier was saved, and 80 percent of it reopened on May 10, with the damaged section fenced off.

The city declared a local emergency shortly after the fire, facilitating the recovery of firefighting and repair costs.

Parsons noted: “We submit this to the state for potential reimbursement.

“The governor or director of the Office of Emergency Services will determine whether we meet the standard for California Disaster Act Assistance funds.

“These costs are substantial, and the reimbursement decision will affect what can be accomplished.”

Long-term repair and restoration plans

Assistant City Manager Michael Gossman stated that repairs might not begin immediately and could take several years to complete.

“As soon as the insurance investigation is over, we will seek permits and put out for bids for the debris removal work,” Gossman said.

“I could see that work starting this summer. One of the most time-consuming aspects of this in both debris removal and rebuild will be getting the necessary permits from all the various agencies.”

Following the removal of the remains of Ruby’s Diner and the Brine Box seafood kiosk, city engineers will assess the pier’s structure to determine salvageable parts.

“We will then move into the design phase, then seeking bids, permits, etc.,” Gossman said.

“I would not anticipate a full reopening for three years. There are only a handful of firms qualified to do this type of work.”

Historical context and future projects

Oceanside’s pier has a long history, with the current structure, built in 1986, being the sixth version since 1888.

The concrete approach to the pier, known as the Pier View Way Bridge, constructed in 1927, is also slated for replacement, a project estimated at $40 million.

The new bridge and adjacent buildings will meet modern safety standards while maintaining their historical appearance.

Additionally, the city is planning the renovation or replacement of other nearby facilities, including the Junior Seau Beach community center, the amphitheater, and the bandshell.

These projects are part of a broader effort to modernize Oceanside’s aging infrastructure.

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