Seaside Park residents, business owners react to boardwalk fire

September 13, 2013 3:39:15 PM PDT
The Seaside boardwalk fire is a heartbreaking double-whammy for a community that has already been through so much following Superstorm Sandy.

Still, the community is coming together and vowing to overcome this latest disaster.

The area is rich in history, with some businesses that have been in place for almost 100 years. Now, it's going to be a struggle to recover after many families try to rebuild once again.

"This is a knockout punch," Seaside Park resident Tom King said. "This is devastating."

"How can we deal with this again?" another asked.

Residents and first responders feel helpless after flames ripped through their iconic boardwalk.

Dozens of businesses are in ashes just months after coming back to life, and many just can't believe it.

"I saw Funtown go down," one man said. "We were up here for that."

The Funtown pier was gutted, burned to the ground live on Eyewitness News at 6 p.m. Thursday night .

Kohr's Frozen Custard, a Seaside staple for decades, is gone.

And dozens of other businesses were wiped out by a wall of flames.

"Saturday and Sunday, I work," one man said. "Now I don't have a job."

"We got boardwalk between the two piers that these guys hustled to get ready," business owner Tim Hussey said. "And now that's all went up in flames."

"It hurts everybody in this town, the county, Toms River, everybody," King said. "The whole state of New Jersey."

But some aren't willing to give up.

Mike Carbone owns the Beachcomber Bar and Grill. Firefighters dragged him out of the Ocean Terrace building so they could save it.

The restaurant took heavy damage during Sandy, but Carbone is ready to fight back again.

"Do we have a choice?" he asked. "Do we have a choice? This is our livelihood. This is where we make our living. This is where we feed our families. We have no choice. We will recover. We will come back."

Many people are still waiting for insurance money from Sandy and are relying on savings to get them through these tough times. Now, the burden is certainly harder to bear.