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Massive Blaze Destroys Much Of Seaside Park NJ's Boardwalk

About 400 firefighters continued to battle a blaze along the New Jersey shore Thursday evening.

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Just horrible. I've said before I'm not sure those who live in other parts of the country understand the powerful place the Jersey shore holds in the hearts and memories of East Coast natives, and it's doubly sad because they were still rebuilding from Hurricane Sandy. And it was hard on firefighters because it was a very hot, muggy day:

About 400 firefighters continued to battle a blaze along the New Jersey shore Thursday evening, with Gov. Chris Christie reporting that the blaze had destroyed some areas.

Seaside Park -- a community about 80 miles south of New York City with a year-round population of about 2,200 -- was still recovering from the wrath of Superstorm Sandy when the fire began around 3:30 p.m., reportedly in an ice cream shop.

Officials would not speculate on the cause of the fire, which swept northward along the boardwalk with the help of 40 mph wind gusts.

“What I saw, first of all, were dozens and dozens of firefighters working like crazy, to exhaustion, trying to contain this fire," Christie told reporters about four hours after the fire began.

Some first responders reported smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion. Christie said about 20 businesses had been affected, with the fire line stretching from Stockton Avenue to Lincoln Avenue along the boardwalk.

Firefighters dug up the boardwalk along Lincoln Avenue, making a 20-foot trench to prevent the blaze from spreading farther north, Christie said.

“We have a lot of work still to do here, and we’re hoping that the trench and the stand that we’re making on Lincoln Avenue will stop the fire there," Christie said.

The New Jersey shore was hit particularly hard when Sandy made landfall in October. Communities such as Seaside Park had struggled to rebuild boardwalks, homes and businesses in time for the summer season.

"After going through Sandy and starting this recovery effort, and just to see these blocks and blocks of boardwalk ablaze … it’s just absolutely devastating,” the town’s police chief, Francis Larkin, told WABC in New York.

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