Flames ravaged a Jersey Shore boardwalk Thursday that was still being rebuilt after being crushed by Hurricane Sandy nearly a year ago.
More than 400 firefighters reported to quell the blaze that had burned more than 80 percent of the Seaside Park boardwalk. Flames sparked inside a Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard stand at about 2:15 p.m. and were tossed around by 30 mph winds, gutting 32 businesses along the boardwalk, reported the New York Daily News.
"I feel like I want to throw up," said Gov. Chris Christie at a news conference. "After all the effort and time and resources that we put in to help the folks in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights rebuild, to see this going on…is just unthinkable."
Christie asked New Jersey residents to stay away from Seaside Park in an effort to limit volume in the area and that "anyone who comes down to this area, whether it's by car or on foot, runs the risk of impeding our ability to fight this fire most efficiently."
The New York Times reported firefighters were removing sections of the boardwalk in order to reduce the amount of flammable material in the fire's path. Firefighters were able to contain the blaze shortly before 8 p.m. after it had burned for nearly 5 hours, drawing in personnel from more than 30 Ocean County towns.
Boardwalk wood had just been replaced in May before Memorial Day, reported Reuters.
The FunTown Amusement Pier was heavily battered by Hurricane Sandy and was preparing for a 2014 opening before the park's progress was reverted by Thursday's fire, which caused the pier to collapse.
The Seaside Park fire comes 11 months after Hurricane Sandy blasted the Jersey Shore, the second most costly storm in U.S. history behind Hurricane Katrina in 2005. A federal relief program — split between communities in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut — topped $60 billion. Damages in New Jersey alone were estimated at $37 billion.