Fire hits Wildwood amusement pier

June 16, 2008 3:18:44 PM PDT
Firefighters in Wildwood, N.J. are trying to determine what caused a blaze that damaged an amusement park on the boardwalk. At one point witnesses told authorities flames were shooting 30 feet in the air from Mariners Landing amusement pier at Oak and the Boardwalk.

Between the wind and wood boardwalk fires have the potential to cause extensive damage. But firefighters did a good job of containing the blaze and saving the pier which was open for business by noon.

As many as 200 fire fighters rushed to the scene after the fire broke out at 1:17 a.m. and managed to contain the flames to a storage and office area and two rides. "We were able to contain it to the area of origin and it was declared under control by 4 o'clock," said Wildwood fire chief Conrad Johnson.

The flames damaged the Super-scooters bumper cars and the Seal Flume kiddie ride. They also damaged or destroyed 5 vehicles parked on the beach near the pier. One witness said he heard the explosions that likely came from the gas tanks.

Investigators from Wildwood and the Cape May County prosecutor's office and fire marshall have been searching for the exact cause although at this time officials say it does not appear to be suspicious. Mariners Landing is home to a wide array of rides...a water park and games of chance. A quickly-erected fence shielded the fire scene from the visitors who hardly noticed anything was wrong.

There was another boardwalk fire a few blocks away last month and while no cause has been determined in that one, fire officials do not believe they are in any way related.