SEASIDE PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Thursday’s fire on the Seaside Park boardwalk erupted at the worst possible time.
Winds were raging and fire experts said that conditions along the boardwalk resulted in a perfect storm that created a worst-case scenario, CBS 2’s Vanessa Murdock reported Friday.
Winds gusted at 30 mph fueled the flames.
“It’s really a perfect storm of construction and weather together that create this situation,” said Glenn Corbett, an associate professor of fire science at John Jay College. “When you’re forcing oxygen or air into the fire it accelerates and pushes it as well.”
Corbett explained that the wind forced the flames into a dangerous position.
“The wind pushes what we call the flame front. The heat gases the flames almost horizontal. It starts to cook the buildings ahead,” he said.
Firefighters fought to douse the flames as the fire raged but much of the water didn’t even make it close to the blaze. The wind pushed and weakened the stream, officials said.
“Let’s talk wind direction. If the winds would have been from the north we wouldn’t be talking right now. They would have lost a lot. Probably just the end of the Funtown Pier,” Corbett said.
Winds can’t be controlled but rebuilding efforts can and Corbett suggests using different materials to rebuild the boardwalk.
“What we could do is build the underground support with concrete, put firewalls in concrete block walls every 110 feet or so underneath the boardwalk. And where the street meets the boardwalk, make it out of concrete to create a firebreak,” he said.
Corbett also suggested changing the combustibility of the buildings on the boardwalk.
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