Businesses lining the newly-rebuilt boardwalk on the Jersey Shore were damaged and destroyed in a fire on Thursday, which began near a Seaside Park ice cream stand and spread to six alarms, burning its way into nearby Seaside Heights. The Seaside Heights boardwalk was damaged last fall when Superstorm Sandy slammed the region, but it was partially rebuilt days before Memorial Day weekend for the summer tourist season. The Record explains just how much overlap there is between today's fire and the newly-rebuilt boardwalk:
The flames were destroying new boardwalk wood that had just been replaced days before Memorial Day weekend as both towns raced to recover from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. Much of the Seaside Heights boardwalk was destroyed, and a roller coaster that plunged off a damaged amusement pier became a defining image of the storm.
Governor Chris Christie warned would-be good Samaritans (or, alternately, disaster tourists) to "stay away" from the boardwalk while firefighters across the state battle the blaze. "Do not come here," he said. "We need to have easy access to the boardwalk."
This is the image you'll know from the Seaside boardwalk:
That's the roller coaster from FunTown pier, pushed into the ocean during the storm. What remained of the pier's buildings were reportedly damaged by today's fire. Part of the FunTown Pier building collapsed.
The fire reportedly began on the boardwalk near the well-known Kohr’s Frozen Custard in Seaside Park. It quickly spread to the custard stand, and then to nearby buildings. One of the first people to notice the fire was Christine Pallas, who was at the boardwalk to photograph recovery efforts from the storm. As the Star-Ledger notes, portions of the boardwalk destroyed today in Seaside Park were rebuilt after a 1995 fire.