Update 9/13: About 95 percent of the boardwalk fire that set two shore towns aflame Thursday has been contained. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said “hot pockets” of the blaze could take days to extinguish.
A newly restored boardwalk that was devastated by Superstorm Sandy last year has been engulfed by flames. The fire, which began at Kohr’s frozen custard stand in Seaside Park, N.J. Thursday, continues to ravage the town and its neighboring Seaside Heights. Approximately 80% of the boardwalk has burned, according to NBC New York.
Seaside Park Councilwoman Nancy Koury told the Associated Press at least 32 businesses have perished in the blaze. While some firefighters are being treated for smoke inhalation, there have been no reports of serious injuries. Strong winds carried the fire along several blocks within hours, damaging the iconic Funtown Arcade and Carousel Pier, the New York Times reports.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie held a press conference at 7 p.m., tweeting photos and updates. Christie declined to comment on the possible cause of the blaze.
On the Seaside boardwalk getting briefed by officials now. http://t.co/n3l7lLjHoI—
Governor Christie (@GovChristie) September 12, 2013
“We’re looking at winds here…anywhere from 20 to 30 miles an hour out of the south heading north, and that’s our biggest enemy right now are these winds,” Gov. Christie told NBC.
Christie also told reporters that learning of the fire made him want to “throw up,” calling it “an unthinkable situation.”
The recently rebuilt walkway along the beach was wrecked by Hurricane Sandy last fall and opened in time for Memorial Day.
Update 8:48 p.m.: Public work crews removed a 25-foot recently repaired section of the walkway, filling it with sand, in an attempt to create a barrier to contain the flames, according to the Associated Press.