Investigation into devastating fire that gutted 2 homes in Wildwood Crest

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Watch the report from Action News at 5 p.m. on June 26, 2017. (WPVI)

The Cape May County Fire Marshal's Office is still trying to figure out what caused a devastating fire at the Jersey shore over the weekend.

It all started Sunday afternoon on the Bayfront in Wildwood Crest. The flames gutted two homes on the water, and severely damaged a third.

No one was hurt, but now we're getting a sense of just how much damage was done.

"If it was the nighttime and everybody was asleep we have all been dead," said Jim Costigan.

He's got an estimated $150,000 worth of damage at his home, but looking at the burned out shells of his neighbors' houses, Costigan of Wildwood Crest is counting his blessings.

"Flames 50 feet above the house. Explosions going off. Nobody got killed. We're still here," said Jim Costigan.

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Firefighters battle massive house blaze in Cape May Co. Viewer Video: Courtesy of Joey Biondo.



Flames erupted Sunday afternoon along the 7100 block of Park Boulevard. The fast-moving fire destroyed two houses and heavily damaged another.

"Within two minutes the whole place was engulfed in flames. It's the fastest fire I ever saw," said Rich Headley of Tabernacle, New Jersey.

Neighbors immediately sprang into action.

"Just started banging on all my neighbors' doors and while I'm doing that there's stuff exploding everywhere, there's glass shattering," said Ashley Razzano of Havertown, Pa.

The explosions came from propane tanks for grills. Neighbors say the owner of the house where the fire appeared to have started had just taken his grandchildren out for a boat ride. His wife was inside.

"Going around yelling for people to get out. She actually saw the smoke and was coming out the same time we were trying to yell at everybody," said neighbor Jason Vandergrift.

The owner of the second home that was destroyed lives in the home full time. She says she's lost everything but the bathing suit she was wearing when the fire broke out.

The smoke from the blaze could be seen from miles away. Neighbors are praising the dozens of area firefighters who attacked the raging flames.

"They were just relentless. They contained it to two houses, I don't know how. If you sought all the black smoke, I don't know how they did it," said Donna DeVitis of Broomall, Pa.

One of the homeowners says the damage is so extensive that the two houses will have to be knocked down.

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