“I don’t even know. I can’t process it right now, I feel sick. I feel like my husband worked so hard just coming back from Sandy and then this,” said Lauren Dionisio through tears.
Nick and Lauren Dionisio worked tirelessly from the ground up after Sandy and it paid off.Their restaurant, Park Seafood, opened before Memorial Day weekend.
But they never imagined less than a year later they would be thinking of rebuilding yet again, this time from an inferno.
“I’m still numb from the hurricane,” said Nick Dioniosio.
The couple had for the first time in months taken the night off from work and from their two toddler children to be together.
The break from the stress was shattered with just one phone call.
“The phone started ringing at 3 o’clock, a quarter to 3 and I rushed over here and…I couldn’t watch anymore,” Nick said.
The Dionisios along with dozens of other business owners watched helplessly as 11 months of back breaking labor literally go up in flames.
The aftermath was utter devastation.
“I feel like we’re starting all over again. Storm, now the fire. What’s next?” said Michael Carbone, owner of Beachcombers Bar.
A four block stretch of Jersey Shore boardwalk, gone.
A fire originating at Kohr’s Frozen Custard spread furiously, 30 mph winds, tar roofing, and of course a wood boardwalk all acting as contributing factors to how rapidly the fire moved.
“I said to my staff I really feel like I’m going to throw up. How much more are people going to be expected to take?” said Governor Chris Christie.
Hundreds of firefighters only managed to contain the blaze by cutting through the boardwalk, preventing the fire from moving any further.
The plan worked, but not until more than 30 businesses were lost.
Friday, despite curiosity and speculation, Governor Chris Christie refused to discuss what may have caused the fire, only saying an investigation will take a few more days.
“The team on the ground is tackling this one step at a time to ensure that this sight is secured and safe,” Christie said.
Firefighters more than 24 hours later are still battling hot spots, which they expect will pop up for another couple of days.
“Fire is contained within the perimeters of where it already burned. It’s not going any further,” said the Fire Coordinator.
In his final press update, Governor Christie did not allow this moment to escape him, making sure everyone was aware of the resilience of not only New Jersey but the community of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights..
“I will not allow all the work over the past few months to be diminished by what happened last night. We’re going to get back on our feet and do what we need to do,” the Governor said.
“We’ll get through it. We love each other, we’re strong. I was on this boardwalk as a kid before I could walk. I was pushed on a stroller and I know this town will make it happen. We’ll be back.”