Thanks to Monmouth, Atlantic, Union, Burlington, Middlesex, Mercer and Cape May counties, Ocean County towns will have fire coverage while local firefighters battle the Seaside Park boardwalk blaze.
"We don't want to leave these towns uncovered," Al Della Fave, spokesperson for the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office said tonight. "They have positioned assets close enough so they will be prepared to respond."
Fire companies from 29 of Ocean County's 33 municipalities are on the scene in Seaside Park, he said.
The massive blaze - which so far has destroyed more than 20 boardwalk business and caused the collapse of Funtown Pier - was first reported at 2:14 p.m., he said.
As the fire spread quickly, that tripped an "all-county call," for mutual aid, Della Fave said.
Police protection has also been beefed up on the barrier island, thanks to a mutual aid agreement with the Ocean County Sheriff's Office, the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, the New Jersey State Police, and the Toms River, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park and Lavallette, he said.
Gas and electric service in the area of the fire have been shut off to protect firefighters.
The fire began on the boardwalk near Farragut Avenue in Seaside Park and quickly engulfed businesses all the way up to Lincoln Avenue in Seaside Heights, Della Fave said.
It appears to have been halted at Lincoln Avenue, after firefighters ripped up the boardwalk and dug a 20-foot trench as a fire break, he said.
Investigators from the Prosecutor's Office are already on the scene and will begin determining the cause of the blaze as soon as it is safe to enter, Della Fave said.
Della Fave said he was at the incredible scene this afternoon.
"I think Police Chief Boyd (Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd) said it best - "it was like a punch in the gut."