TOMS RIVER, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The massive fire that destroyed part of a Jersey shore boardwalk and scores of businesses began accidentally by wiring damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and should prompt coastal property owners to inspect their own wiring for similar danger, authorities said Tuesday.
The fire started accidentally in wiring dating back to the 1970s under a Kohr’s frozen custard stand and the Biscayne Candies shop last Thursday afternoon, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato said. It raged for eight hours in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, destroying about 50 businesses over several blocks. Only minor injuries were reported.
Jessica Gotthold, a senior special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said a total of 27 investigators came to the conclusion that wires under the boardwalk somehow came in contact with each other, causing an electrical arc that is believed to have started the fire. Coronato said those wires had been exposed to the storm surge and grating sand action of the storm, which compromised them.