A raging fire destroyed much of an iconic Jersey shore boardwalk that had just been rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy, but a last-ditch effort to halt its spread by ripping out boards that had yet to burn succeeded in saving the rest of it tonight. The wind-whipped fire devoured eight blocks of boardwalk—four each in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights—destroyed dozens of boardwalk businesses, and caused millions in damages to the economic lifeblood of the twin tourist spots. "I feel like I want to throw up," said Gov. Chris Christie at the scene. No serious injuries were reported.
The Hail Mary effort to save the remainder of the boardwalk began in the evening when public works crews ripped out a 25-foot swath of boardwalk to serve as a makeshift fire break, depriving the blaze of fuel. They then filled the void with giant sand piles—makeshift dunes that this time held back not water but fire. "That appears to have done the trick," said Seaside Park Mayor Robert Matthies. The blaze destroyed all 32 businesses on the Seaside Park portion of the boardwalk, borough Councilwoman Nancy Koury told the AP. An undetermined number of additional boardwalk businesses in Seaside Heights also were burned. (Read more New Jersey stories.)