It's been just over one-week since salty wires under the Seaside Park boardwalk ignited a wind-fueled firestorm that destroyed 50 businesses. The good news is that no one was seriously hurt from the fire itself. Though three Seaside Park police officers were injured when the railing collapsed on an Army truck they were riding.
This summer NewsWorks brought on board Justin Auciello to co-write our Down the Shore blog. He is a resident of South Seaside Park.
On Thursday, Sept 12, he watched as fire engulf four blocks of the boardwalk as 20-30 mph winds sent flames north into neighboring Seaside Heights, the same town that was hit so hard by Superstorm Sandy it left the roller coast sitting in the ocean.
This week, Auciello saw first hand just how bad the fire was. He was given a tour into the fire zone that was still smoking in some places. The fire damaged area is fenced off to the public. The photos above are some of the first photos of fire damage. Auciello, shared similar photos last night on NewsWorks and on his website Jersey Shore Hurricane News.
He shared his thoughts on WHYY's NewsWorks Tonight (listen to interview), which aired Friday at 6 p.m. He said there are spots on the boardwalk that were still smoldering. "There was one piling that was burnt halfway down and there was pretty heavy smoke coming out of it. That to me was a pretty surreal eerie feeling" he said.
Auciello says there was even a special gathering last night to say goodbye to local hangout. Last night an Irish wake was held for the loss of Jack and Bill's, a popular bar that was destroyed in the fire. The event, held at another bar, was complete with bagpipers, pallbearers and urn with ashes from the bar.
The video below is the wake for Jack and Bill's, courtesy of Chris Anderson/Quantum Design Lab.