By Megan Taros, Sep 12, 2013 09:57 PM EDT
(PHOTO CREDIT: Creative Commons) The Funtown Pier, seen here pre-Sandy, sits near the end of the J. Stanley Tunney Bridge, which carries thousands of tourists from the mainland to Seaside Heights, N.J. each year. About 80 percent of the boardwalk has been destroyed by Thursday afternoon's fire.
Seaside Heights, which but a year ago suffered immense devastation following Superstorm Sandy, was engulfed in flames, destroying many shops in the Seaside Park area of New Jersey. The six-alarm fire broke out at about 2:15 p.m. Thursday. The blaze reportedly broke out at Kohr Brothers frozen custard shop on the FunTown Amusement Pier and escalated to a six-alarm blaze around 4 p.m. The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Gov. Chris Christie announced in a press conference that 35 engine companies, 15 ladders and 400 firefighters were still at the scene Thursday evening trying to snuff out the blaze.
About 20 businesses in a six-block radius have been destroyed by a fire. Embers briefly set fire to a condominium, but it was able to be extinguised quickly. The damage remains contained almost entirely on the boardwalk, which required $8 million to repair following Sandy. The total damage the superstorm caused to the Seaside Park area was $16 million. "I said to my staff, I feel like I want to throw up, and that's me. After all the effort and time and resources that we've put in to help the folks in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights rebuild. To see this going on, as I said at the top, is just unthinkable," Christie said. About 80 percent of the boardwalk has been destroyed by the fire.
"It's just heartbreaking to see. After what we just went through almost a year ago, and now this. I'm just in disbelief and shock over this. I can't believe it," said Seaside Park Police Chief Francis Larkin. Firefighters experienced water supply issues due to system damages still left to be repaired following Sandy. Fire crews were using water from the Barnegat Bay to combat the blaze. No fire-related power outages have been reported, but teams are on the scene to investigate, said Jersey Central Power and Light spokesman Ron Morano. No injuries have been reported.
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