UPDATE: Fire Destroys 50 Feet of Fishing Pier at Martinez Marina

August 4, 2014 12:44 pm · 12 comments


A fire that burned the end of a fishing pier at the Martinez Marina late Sunday night was likely caused by a human, a fire marshal said today.

“I am confident that it was human-caused, there was no other explanation,” Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Marshal Robert Marshall said.

Marshall said that investigators are still determining whether the fire that broke out at 10:52 p.m. was malicious or had an accidental cause, like discarded smoking materials.

One possibility is that the fire started in rotted wood that formed bowl shapes on the top of some of the pier’s posts and were sometimes used as ashtrays, Marshall said.

With the lack of rain lately, a lot of the wood along the pier was rotted and dry and very easy to burn, he said.

It took firefighters 90 minutes to control the blaze, which completely destroyed 50 feet at the end of the pier and damaged more. It
burned much of the left side of the T-shaped pier, Marshall said.

Firefighters were there for much longer than that and continued to put out hot spots this morning.

They cleared the scene at about 2 a.m. today but left hose lines in place and have been stopping back today to check for smoldering, he said.

A state weather station is at the end of the burned pier and while the building sustained some exterior damage, the fire did not spread inside, Marshall said.

However, the destroyed pier has prevented people from accessing the building and they will have to find some other way to get to the equipment, Marshall said.

Homeless residents sometimes sleep on the pier and firefighters were concerned that some may have been there when the fire broke out.

Crews checked the area extensively and did not find anyone, Marshall said. No one appears to have been injured in the fire.

RELATED STORYPIC: Pier on Fire at the Martinez Marina

photo credit: Craig Cannon – for use only on Claycord.com

sosad August 4, 2014 at 2:39 PM

omg this is like my favorite spot in the world. I love going here when I just need to escape life for awhile

anonanonagain August 4, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Tragic indeed. I can’t believe, if that is the cause, that people would use a piece of wood that is hollowed out and dry as an ashtray!!! When are smokers going to wake up?!! I guess when the fall asleep with a ciggie in hand whilst in bed…:(

Chris K August 4, 2014 at 3:04 PM

Was downtown today and heard from one merchant we do not have a fire boat in Martinez. With people living on boats in the Marina, one of the only places without one. He was / is not happy. I am very bummed. Wondering if that should but mandatory for a Marina, esp where people live. Chris

Martinez Native August 4, 2014 at 4:05 PM

Having grown up in Martinez, and enjoyed many excursions to the pier, it has been sad to see the pier deteriorating. Is the old, “wavy” pier still there and fenced off? Yes, it smells down there, but it holds fond memories.

Diablo August 4, 2014 at 4:14 PM

To be expected, you have a city that has allowed it’s downtown to be overrun by transients and mentally ill this is what your going to get. In two years this is the third fire to be caused by lowlifes. First was the parking lot behind US Bank on Main, then it was the area above Victoria’s Cafe on Main, and now down on the pier. Here’s a shock, transients were sleeping at all three of these places. The city of Martinez needs to pull it’s head out of it’s ass before there’s nothing left of it’s downtown.

Cowellian August 4, 2014 at 4:53 PM

No more watching the submarine races from the pier?

Me August 4, 2014 at 5:47 PM

@ Diablo. There has been other fires as well, a house near us burned a couple years ago with squatters living in it.

Palermo August 4, 2014 at 6:28 PM

That was the one part of the pier I avoided, too many homeless and fighting people.

Craig Cannon August 4, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Shooting this story, and visiting downtown, I’ve actually noticed less people without a home around. At the fire, I saw not one. The Marina, has become a nice sitting spot and Excercise Area. Maybe Im just not correct, but even the Cops Seemed a bit more cheery last night! No Pun, but it seems we have ebbs and tides in homelessness. I would wish some were finding assistance. It’s just been quiet in these parts lately! Perhaps, Assistance has found them! There still lots of Fishing Pier Left! The Sub Races go on.

Jojo potato August 4, 2014 at 8:56 PM

Too bad about the pier. I remember my mom taking the station wagon full of us boys down there to take the ferry across to Benicia just for fun. Quite a thrill bumping our way down the pier and onto the boat. I guess it made an impression. Last ferry run was in 1962.

slagheap August 4, 2014 at 11:30 PM

…calling that thing a ” fishing pier ” is a stretch.

Big Al August 6, 2014 at 7:52 PM

The rif raf, the tweakers, the drinkers, the 24/7 fishermen, who hide on that end of pier are in morning. So sad… That end of the pier is a sess pool of crap. I am sad the whole pier did not burn. The other end of the pier at the entrance of the marina at the corner is a urinal. I have fished on this pier for years and stopped 2 years ago because it has been taken over by local lowlife scum. I hope the pier will be rebuilt and the marina and nearby areas, butt it will never happen. Tear it down and get rid of those creosote soaked piles and send these morning local tweaks eleswhere to drink, snort, smoke glass pipes, and pretend fishing.

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