New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called the damage an "unthinkable situation", as the fire continued to rage Thursday evening.
I said to my staff, I feel like I want to throw up, and that's me. After all the effort and time and resources that we've put in to help the folks in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights rebuild. To see this going on, as I said at the top, is just unthinkable.
The fire began in a local ice cream shop at around 2:30 p.m., and burning rapidly through 20 businesses along the boardwalk and into the neighboring town of Seaside Heights.
One Seaside Park business owner, Rory Delaney, told The New York Times that she had just reopened her commercial building after months of recovery work.
"It's rubble," she said. “We just finished work on the basement last week."
Though Christie said that 400 firefighters had been called to the boardwalk to combat the blaze, the fire was still burning well into evening hours. About 12 firefighters have suffered minor injuries from smoke inhalation, according to the Asbury Park Press.
“It’s all hands on deck and they’re doing the best they can, but the winds are really making it difficult," said Della Fave, of the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, told NBC Philadelphia.
Though authorities said that the fire started at Kohr Brothers' frozen custard shop on the FunTown Amusement Pier, they were unsure who or what caused it.
It’s horrible. Why is God doing this to us again?” one resident told the Asbury Park Press. “How much more can we take?”