A fire that started at a frozen custard shop in Seaside Park, New Jersey spread across the boardwalk, engulfing scores of businesses including FunTown Pier and the newly rebuilt town of Seaside Heights. Much of that same iconic boardwalk had just been rebuilt after Hurricane Sandy wrecked the Jersey coast.
Emergency personnel arrived at the scene for a report of smoke near Kohr's Frozen Custard Shop in Seaside Park around 2:30 p.m. NJ Governor Chris Christie declared a state of emergency as firefighters struggled to thwart the six-alarm blaze.
Janet Meisner, a Seaside Park resident, told ABC News that she feared the fire would usher another crippling blow to the community, which depends on the boardwalk to keep its economy afloat. "This is another tremendous wrench in the recovery," Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies said. Firefighter Bob Stewart lamented, "We had the perfect storm, now we have the perfect fire."
The fire was locally reported under control around 7:45 p.m. EST Thursday, although some hot spots were reported as blazing well past 10 p.m.. Governor Christie arrived on scene Thursday evening and described the situation as "just unthinkable." Christie urged residents to stay away from the scene because strong winds were making the fire difficult to get under control, and pledged the full support of the state.