Ocean Grove boardwalk fire leaves big cleanup and questions
NEPTUNE TOWNSHIP — Firefighters worked into the night on Saturday to douse the hot spots of the fire that ravaged the Dunes Boardwalk Cafe on the Ocean Grove boardwalk.
The fire was considered to be under control late Saturday after a flare up around 11:30 p.m., 12 hours after the first flames were reported under the boardwalk, according to Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden.
Heavy equipment will begin to tear down the building on Sunday as the fire marshal and Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office investigate a cause of the fire. The boardwalk itself was also damaged by the fire.
Golden said no one was injured as a result of the fire. State Police cadaver dogs were also brought following concerns people were seen underneath the boardwalk late in the week.
The building is a total loss, according to Golden.
The roof of the building that is now home to eight eateries collapsed at one point seemed to be under control but sparked up again and sent black smoke and flames into the air for several hours. It also created a smokey fog along the immediate shoreline.
NJ 101.5 Chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow said the smoke from the fire could be present for another day.
"Smoke is very dirty, and those particulates tend to hang in the air for a while, even with a breeze. It's going to take a strong land breeze to kick that smoky smell out to sea. That's coming on Monday," Zarrow said.
The pavilion was not yet open for the season although the boardwalk in Ocean Grove and neighboring Asbury Park was filled with many people enjoying a warm spring day.
The Dunes houses America's Cup Coffee, Bubbakoo Burritos, Burgers on the Boards, the Crooked Snook, Eat Poe Bro, Just Another Days, Luigi's Pizza, Playa Bowls and Summertime's Salads and Subs.
It's located right where the Ocean Grove section of the township borders Asbury Park along the boardwalk.
The Cafe was in what historically was the North End Pavilion, which in the past included a hotel, shops and restaurants but was destroyed by fire in 1980. The area was again heavily damaged by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ
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