- Posted September 23, 2013 by
Seaside Park, New Jersey
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
- Convention Honors Action Cinema Pioneers and Inspires Next Wave of Creators - Part 6 of 6
- Convention Honors Action Cinema Pioneers and Inspires Next Wave of Creators - Part 5 of 6
- Convention Honors Action Cinema Pioneers and Inspires Next Wave of Creators - Part 4 of 6
- Convention Honors Action Cinema Pioneers and Inspires Next Wave of Creators - Part 3 of 6
- Convention Honors Action Cinema Pioneers and Inspires Next Wave of Creators - Part 2 of 6
Signs of Destruction and Resilience After Seaside Fire - Part 1 of 2
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
In October of 2012, major portions of the Seaside Heights and neighboring Seaside Park boardwalks were damaged, and much of the borough flooded, as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Both the Funtown Pier and Casino Pier suffered heavy damage, with sections of both being ripped apart by the powerful storm surge.
Sadly, the residents of Seaside had yet another great misfortune two weeks ago. On September 12th, a ten-alarm fire ignited on Funtown Pier and swept northward, intensified by high winds. It was yet another blow to an already fragile local economy and infrastructure, still recovering from Sandy.
This past Saturday I was visiting family with my wife in nearby Tom's River and decided to see the damage for myself. When we arrived, I began speaking to a few residents and taking pictures. According to one local resident, who spoke to my wife, a nearly identical fire occurred in 1955. Upon researching that event, I found out that fire became known as Freeman's Fire, and did indeed attack the very same portions of the boardwalk, even destroying some of the same businesses.
We walked along the fenced-off street seeking to find the portion of boardwalk not damaged by the fire. When we found it, we also witnessed the true level of devastation this fire caused on that day. The building facades masked the mountains of debris that were left behind after the fire was put out. I also saw signs of continuity on the remaining Seaside Heights boardwalk, at that moment, however, and took additional photos showing those signs of life.
These photos are part of my photo essay from Saturday, beginning with side-by-side shots of Funtown Amusement Pier that I took in summer 2011 and last Saturday. The photos also show where the boardwalk was cut to prevent the fire from spreading further. High winds made fighting the blaze much more difficult and allowed the fire to spread quickly. One young man asked me to take a shot of him in front of a business often frequented.
As you go through the images, you can see, just as I did, there's already signs of rebirth at Seaside.