Christie Speaks After Fire Devastates NJ Boardwalk One Year After Sandy's Destruction
It's another devastating blow for the Jersey Shore.
A massive fire tore through the boardwalk in Seaside, New Jersey Thursday night, destroying about five blocks of the iconic boardwalk. Around 400 firefighters dumped thousands of gallons on the fire in hopes of containing it. The boardwalk, formerly and famously home to MTV's Jersey Shore cast, was recently rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy demolished it one year ago.
Ocean County's Fire Coordinator Brian Gabriel said that there's not much left in the areas touched by the fire, "It looks like a couple of bombs went off. It's pretty much complete devastation."
Bob Martucci, a borough administrator in Seaside Park estimated that it will take about $600,000 to rebuild the portions of boardwalk that were destroyed. But that doesn't include the cost to individual businesses, many of whom are facing massive losses and rebuilding expenses in two consecutive years.
While the blaze was certainly devastating, some on the Jersey Shore are still saying they are thankful, since the fire could have spread much farther and wreaked more havoc. Taking a lesson from Hurricane Sandy, officials in Seaside Heights ripped out 25 feet of recently rebuilt boardwalk and piled up makeshift sand dunes in hopes of blocking the flames from the northern portion of the boardwalk.
Luckily, the plan worked.
The fire burned for eight hours, causing untold damage to the portions of the boardwalk that it did manage to scorch. Around 32 businesses in Seaside Park were destroyed and 20 businesses on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights were burned.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie echoed feelings of dismay and horror at the second tragedy to hit the boardwalk in a year saying, ""I feel like I want to throw up . . . this is just unthinkable." Christie said the fire is currently 95 percent contained, and confirmed that three officers were injured in the blaze, and are being treated.
Officials are still investigating the cause of the blaze, but do not suspect foul play.
You can see images from last night's massive fire below: