So much for Superstorm Sandy comeback. Firefighters on Friday morning were still trying to put out a massive fire that tore across the Jersey Shore boardwalk, devastating at least 50 businesses and dampening New Jersey’s hopes to rebound and build back the beachfront that was decimated 10 months ago.
“We’ve been through a storm and now a fire,” said Tim Hussey, the owner of Kupper’s French Fries, to NBC News. “Is this some type of message? … The future is completely unclear.”
At least 400 firefighters were called to battle the blaze, which was driven and fueled by tremendous wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. The fire started Thursday afternoon, in the area of an ice cream shop, and quickly spread to surrounding businesses.
It was just four months ago that local officials held a rosy outlook for the shore, promising a rebound that would moot losses from the October 2012 Sandy hurricane.
“It’s horrible. We’re getting kicked while we’re down,” said Seaside Park Police Chief Francis Larkin, in the NBC News report. “It couldn’t have come at a worse time for us.”
Firefighters fought for hours on Thursday to bring the flames under control. But early Friday morning, they were still on the scene, trying to extinguish stubborn spots of flames that dotted the boardwalk.