The Seal Beach Pier has reopened, nearly a month after an electrical fire at a closed restaurant at the end of the structure resulted in about $5 million in damage.
The pier was closed May 20.
Since the closing of Ruby’s Diner in 2013, three vacant buildings that once housed the restaurant, a storage shack and a bait shop have been boarded up.
At the City Council meeting Monday night, Orange County Fire Authority Division Chief Ken Cruz said an investigation confirmed the cause of the fire as an electrical malfunction “beside the bait shop,” allaying suspicions by some in the community that the fire was sparked by an arsonist, the Orange County Register reported.
Patrick Gallegos, the city’s administrative manager, told City Council members that about 8,000 square feet of the damaged section needs to be rebuilt. Demolition will begin in two weeks and should be completed in five weeks, Gallegos said. Repairs to the pier will take eight to 12 months.
The pier is owned by the state and maintained by Seal Beach. The city insures the pier with the Joint Powers Insurance Authority, which specializes in public entities.
During demolition and repairs, the pier will occasionally be closed to the public for safety concerns, Gallegos said.
“We understand the economic importance of the pier, especially over summer,” he said.
The city’s website will post hours or days that the pier will need to be closed, Gallegos said.
Mayor Sandra Massa-Lavitt agreed that the pier is important to attract shoppers and diners to Main Street.
“People stay longer when the pier is open,” she said. “We want people walking around and looking in store windows.”
—City News Service
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