N.J. amusement park reopens 2 months after accidental fire

The Cyclone at Playland’s Castaway Cove spins around

The Cyclone at Playland’s Castaway Cove spins around while moving back and forth, all very quickly. (Bill Barlow for WHYY)

An amusement park on the New Jersey shore reopened Saturday almost two months after damage from a fire later ruled accidental.

Brian Hartley, vice president of Playland’s Castaway Cove in Ocean City, confirmed Saturday that the park reopened as scheduled at noon. A side entrance is being used while a temporary deck is built in place of the structure at the entrance that caught fire.

The Jan. 30 blaze broke out on a Saturday morning, sending smoke billowing across the skyline, and did extensive damage to a building housing the park’s arcade, offices, and two fast-food restaurants. Police said the building was empty at the time and no fire-related injuries were reported.

The city said in a press release last month that an investigation by multiple agencies concluded that the fire was accidental and stemmed from an undetermined electrical source near the front of the building.

Officials vowed to rebuild and reopen “sooner rather than later.” Hartley said earlier in the week that the plan was to have 22 out of 32 rides operational, but he noted that the park was operating at 50 percent capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Judging just by the amount of emails and phone calls, people are ready to get outside,” he said.

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