Multi-alarm fire on Atlantic City pier

ATLANTIC CITY - November 21, 2009

"All of a sudden it just erupted, it just exploded, we got all of our stuff down," arcade operator Chris Ornduff said.

"In one minute, first you saw smoke and then one minute later flames were shooting 30 feet in the air," arcade manager Chris Burke said.

It was a sight to see for the two arcade workers who were among those who were forced to flee from the burning pier on the northern end of the Atlantic City boardwalk.

Firefighters arrived within moments after the blaze broke out around 7:00 p.m. Saturday.

"We're not really sure if it started under the pier or if it started at the pizza store at this point. We've had several fires on the piers in the past and some of them have been started by vagrants," Atlantic City Fire Chief Dennis Brooks said.

Firefighters had their hands full as flames spread and shot out of several burning businesses that sit on the pier. Possibly making matters worse, the chief says the pizza shop workers apparently tried to put out the fire themselves before calling in the experts, who were faced with a tough fire to put out on they arrived on the scene.

"It's a very smoky fire. I hate these kinds of fires because you don't see a whole lot flames, just a whole lot of smoke," Brooks said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, but firefighters are thankful no one was hurt.

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