Business owners get look at burned Seaside Park boardwalk

Action News was on the burned Seaside Park boardwalk on Thursday, September 19th, one week after a massive fire. Investigators say the blaze was caused by an electrical wires that were likely compromised by Hurricane Sandy.

September 19, 2013 2:56:13 PM PDT
One week after a spark from an exposed and corroded electrical wire started the inferno along the boardwalk in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, owners of the 50 businesses lost in the fire got a look at the devastation.

"It reminds me of war time in Germany," said Inge Baum of Toms River.

"It's just so sad to see all this destruction," said Carmella Vanlew of Toms River. "My two girls were buying things here the Saturday prior and to see that it's all gone now..."

Investigators are still studying the fire scene and debriefing with business owners.

The blaze began in wiring below the boardwalk that was damaged by sand and water during Hurricane Sandy last October.

Governor Chris Christie said $15 million in disaster aid from Sandy is being set aside to help businesses recover.

"None of the money that will be spent in Seaside Park or Seaside Heights comes out of money that would have been spent to help people get back in their homes," Christie said.

Seaside Park's business administrator, Bob Martucci, says bids will go out next week to demolish what's left and remove the debris. Then, a temporary dune will be built where the buildings and Funtown Pier once stood to protect the area from storms and flooding.

"To create protection for a season that we know could be pretty terrifying," Martucci said.

Only two boardwalk businesses survived in the fire zone - The Sawmill Bar, which has exterior sprinklers, and the Funtown Arcade.

Officials say they burned out boardwalk should be cleared away in a month.