In a seven alarm Jersey Beach fire on Friday afternoon, at least three private homes were destroyed as flames ripped through properties in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. The fire, which reportedly broke out at around 4:30 pm, happened on the 7800 block of Pleasure Avenue.
According to eyewitnesses the fire spread rapidly and within just a few minutes flames engulfed the condominium beach house buildings. It is believed that the fire spread rapidly due to the strong ocean winds from the north.
One eyewitness, Rich Monkhouse, spoke to reporters about the Jersey Beach fire: "It was just shocking. We were praying that nobody was inside. We tried to get close. The heat coming off the houses, it would just burn your skin. We were halfway on the beach."
Smoke from the fire could apparently be seen for miles around as 14 fire companies from surrounding communities tried to get the blaze under control.
The fire was caught on camera, filmed by Jimmy McHugh, who said: "The heat even upwind from it was so immense, I can't even imagine how hot it was over by the street. It was jumping across. It was melting part of the building on the other side of Pleasure Avenue," he said.
An official from the Sea Isle Police Department, Lt. Thomas McQuillen, said about the blaze: "The wind obviously plays a factor in this. The priority was to keep the damage where it was."
At least three buildings which house five condos were destroyed and an additional 11 other properties were damaged. The Business Administrator of Sea Isle City, George Savastano, also spoke about the fact that wind was a big factor in the fire: "The winds were problematic. The winds were blowing from the northeast and they were driving the fire towards the south. The firefighters did a fine job getting everything under control," he said.
Fortunately, nobody was injured in the Jersey Beach fire on Frida. Fire marshals have begun a full investigation into what caused the blaze.