A day after a fire destroyed more than 30 businesses on the Seaside Park
and Seaside Heights boardwalks, Gov. Chris Christie said he was
mobilizing state agencies to assist disaster-weary business owners
rebuild for the second time in a year.
Christie, who was back on
the scene of the blaze in Seaside Park, thanked firefighters for their
bravery in battling the inferno for hours, putting up with 30 m.p.h.
winds and blazing heat generated by densely-built structures with tar
roofs burning out of control.
ultimately dug a 20 foot-wide trench at Lincoln Avenue in Seaside
heights that proved to be the one tactic that stopped the massive
boardwalk blaze in its tracks Thursday – a "decisive moment," Christie
Damaged infrastructure left from Superstorm Sandy forced
firefighters to use a borrowed pumping system from Union County to draw
between 5,000 and 6,000 gallons of water per minute from Barnegat Bay –
and even motel swimming pools – to douse the flames that raged on for
The fire was largely placed under control by 10 p.m.
Thursday night, though firefighters will remain on scene through the
weekend, Christie said, to douse remaining hot spots.
At 11 a.m.
Friday, crews were still spraying water on flare-ups near the 3 Brothers
Pizza shop, as well as other businesses in the approximately five block
radius that was devastated by the fire, which began in the Kohr's
frozen custard stand in Seaside Park.
Business that were affected by the fire, Christie said in an address to reporters, were mostly destroyed.
all, about 400 firefighters came to Seaside Park and Seaside Heights
from around the state Thursday, and 100 remained on scene Friday. At its
peak, there were more than 70 fire engines on scene.
Jerseyans call New Jerseyans, they don't think twice," said Christie,
complimenting the statewide response to the fire that included
firefighting agencies and EMS squads from more than 50 miles away.
"That's what it means to be from New Jersey."
Christie said the
investigation into what caused the fire would be led by the Ocean County
Prosecutor's office with help from both state and federal agencies,
including Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. He said he has been in
contact with the White House, though he has yet to peak with President
The investigation into the fire will begin Friday and likely take several days, officials at the scene said.
said he would not comment on what sparked the blaze, and urged the
public to make no inferences into what happened based on the law
enforcement agencies tasked with investigating.
priority, the governor said, was to complete the investigation and
quickly demolish blocks of dangerous, burnt-out building along the
"We're going to do everything we can to assist the
business owners do what they have to rebuild," he said. "We have an
obligation now to get aggressive and rebuild."