Fire rages at Ocean City boardwalk amusement park
OCEAN CITY — An iconic amusement park damaged by a major fire Saturday morning has vowed to rebuild.
The fire erupted about 7:40 a.m. at Playland Castaway Cove on the boardwalk.
The fire ripped through the amusement park's arcade and office building as well as Hamburger Construction Co. restaurant and the Dairy Queen, fire officials said. The buildings were not occupied at the time of the fire.
The boardwalk itself appears to have been spared, although officials said they would inspect further. There were no reported fire-related injuries.
In a message shared after 10:30 a.m., the amusement park said it would reopen "sooner rather than later."
At around 10:30, the fire appeared to be contained. Ladders were dousing the smoking embers of the Playland building next to the amusement rides.
The Ocean City Fire Department said that a west wind fueled the fire but kept the flames from jumping onto neighboring buildings. Fire officials also credited structural firewalls with limiting the devastation.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Smoke could be seen for miles, according to Cat Country 107.3.
Firefighters were fighting both fire and freezing cold. At Atlantic City Marina, the temperature was 22 degrees. The smoke could also been seen on radar from Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.
The fire at the amusement park in operation for 60 years is the second hit for the shore resort this winter after a summer lost to the pandemic. Gillian's Wonderland Pier, about a half mile away from the fire, recently defaulted on $8 million in mortgage debt.
The last catastrophic fire at a Jersey Shore boardwalk was 2013's blaze at Funtown Pier in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, which destroyed more than four dozen businesses a year after Superstorm Sandy. The cause of the fire was pinned on faulty electrical wiring.
Elsewhere in the state on Saturday, a massive fire erupted midnight at the Atlantic Coast Fibers recycling plant in Passaic, causing at least two explosions, including one involving a truck with gas tanks. Nearly two dozen fire departments responded, according to The Associated Press.