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Seaside boardwalk fire

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Wind fans the flames of a massive fire in Seaside Park. Wind fans the flames of a massive fire in Seaside Park.
NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

Hot spots were still a concern on Saturday in the ruins of more than 50 businesses that burned in a massive fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights.

The wind-whipped fire devoured eight blocks of boardwalk — four in each town — and caused millions of dollars in damage.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, though prosecutors said they had seen no evidence it was suspicious.

The blaze which raged on for about eight hours appeared to have started at Kohr's Ice Cream in Seaside Park on Thursday afternoon. The area had been hit hard by Superstorm Sandy last year.

The blaze destroyed 32 businesses on the Seaside Park portion of the boardwalk, borough Councilwoman Nancy Koury told The Associated Press.

Michael Loundy, a real estate agent who works with Seaside Heights on tourism projects, said 20 businesses were destroyed there.

Gov. Chris Christie toured the scene Friday and Saturday and vowed to rebuild.

"I will not permit all the work we've done over the last 10 months to be diminished or destroyed by what happened last night," Christie said during a media briefing in Seaside Park.

Three police officers aboard a truck at the scene were injured in a fall Friday morning.

About 400 firefighters from at least 35 engine companies, at least 15 ladder companies, and special services units from across the state battled the fire, which started at about 2:30 p.m. and quickly spread to nearby buildings.

About 100 firefighters and heavy equipment remained on the scene on Friday.

A south to north breeze anywhere between 20-30 miles per hour fanned the flames.

Firefighters worked to hold the line at Lincoln and Ocean Avenues, said fire officials. The fire line stretched from Stockton Avenue to Lincoln Avenue.

Christie said that everything south of Lincoln was destroyed.

A public works crew used a backhoe to tear up a section of newly rebuilt wooden boardwalk and fulled the hole with sand to prevent the fire from spreading further.

Several firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, the governor said.

Because of water supply damage on the peninsula that remain from Superstorm Sandy, firefighters had to draw water directly from the Barnegat Bay, Christie said. He added that the high wind was a major cause of the spread of the fire.

Ocean County officials urged people to stay away from the area. Traffic congestion from folks trying to get a look at the blaze created a problem for emergency vehicles.

Seaside Park and Seaside Heights are small boroughs on the Barnegat Peninsula. In October 2012, the area was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, which destroyed much of the Funtown Pier as well as the popular Casino Pier in Seaside Heights. The part of the boardwalk that was on fire on Thursday just west of the Funtown Pier survived the storm.

With AP and WNYW reports

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