Flames are spreading rapidly along the boardwalk in Seaside Park at the Jersey Shore and smoke can be seen for at least 7 miles in the area.
"I see thick, billowing, black smoke with ruby red flames. It's still raging out of control," says Justin Auciello, of Jersey Shore Hurricane News.
The fire, which started around 2:30 p.m. near Kohr Brothers Frozen Custard shop, 1800 Boardwalk, has now destroyed at least 80% of the boardwalk in Seaside Park. That's according to Seaside Park's Police Chief, Francis Larken, who also says possibly three dozen businesses have also been destroyed.
"This is obviously just an unthinkable situation, for us to be standing here and watching this, what's going on behind all of you is just unthinkable," says NJ Governor Chris Christie, who added that when he first heard the news he told he staff 'I feel like I want to throw up' after all the work this area did to rebuild.
Gov. Christie estimates 400 firefighters are on the scene. Those crews have cut a 20-foot wide trench along the the boardwalk at Ocean and Lincoln Avenues, in the hopes of stopping the fire from spreading.
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Everything south of the trench is expected to be a total loss, says Christie. They are trying to save as much as possible north of the trench.
Christine Hemingway was working inside Kohr Brothers this afternoon and says it appears the smoke was rising from underneath the boardwalk.
"Our manager came running through the stand and said 'get out,' we go around the corner in front of Biscayne Candy and there was smoke coming up from the boardwalk," says Hemingway. "There was a little smoke and then all of a sudden, it got real thick and black."