Hurricane Sandy damage may have caused Seaside boardwalk fire, prompting call for caution among storm victims

Resilient Seaside residents begin long road to recovery — AGAIN

Last week the boardwalk fire in New Jersey that left so many of us stunned, this week residents are working to pull themselves together.

(PIX11) – The fire that destroyed a famed Jersey Shore boardwalk may have been sparked by damage from Superstorm Sandy, which the towns of Seaside Park and Seaside Heights were slowly recovering from when the fire wiped out almost a year of rebuilding efforts.

For days, Ocean County investigators rummaged through the southern most portion of of the Seaside Park boardwalk, trying to see if it was an accident or suspicious.

It was the perfect storm for an epic fire. There were  30mph winds from the south, tar roofing on the dozens of doomed businesses, and, of course, a wooden boardwalk. The fire was devastating and managed to wipe out four blocks.

Investigators used a method called arc mapping which helps to determine where there was an electrical failure — metal to metal contact causing wiring to blow apart, arc or spark.

That’s exactly what happened at the fire’s origin, just behind the famed Kohr’s Frozen Custard stand and under the boardwalk itself.

It is believed the wiring that caught fire was installed after 1970.  This wiring could have failed on its own, but certainly was affected by Sandy.

While business owners and the community would prefer a definitive answer, Prosecutor Joseph Coronato believes they may never know..

In any case, while the investigation is closed, Coronato urged the public to be cautious and to learn a lesson from this tragedy.

“If you’re a property owner, make sure that it’s safe.  It’s that property owner’s responsibility,” he said.

“We are not trying to send a panic mode. We are trying to be reasonable here . The reasonable alternative is this. If you are a property owner and you believe that your electical system came into contact with water and sand then the right thing to do is to have it inspected by the proper electrical officials,” Coronato said

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