UPDATE (3 p.m.): New Jersey State Police on the explosion: “No additional explosions or secondary locations have been identified. Initial reports of a second device found in another trash can have been refuted. However, State Police bomb technicians have rendered safe items located in the same trash can in which the explosion occurred.”
UPDATE (3 p.m.): Seaside Heights Business Administrator Chris Vaz on why the borough’s Que by the Sea BBQ Festival & Competition went on as scheduled today: “SHPD inspected the festival venue and Boardwalk immediately after the explosion in the Park. Deemed it safe. Additional police presence added as a precaution tonight and tomorrow.”
UPDATE (1 p.m.): Seaside Heights’ Que by the Sea BBQ Festival & Competition is open for business.
UPDATE (1 p.m.): Ocean Avenue remains closed in Seaside Park. All other municipal roads are open.
UPDATE (12:46 p.m.): Ocean County Sheriff’s Department: “Seaside Park access into town is limited: Route 35 south onto I Street onto Barnegat Avenue. Access to the beach is not possible today.”
UPDATE (12:30 p.m.) Ocean County Sheriff’s Department: Point Beach’s Festival of the Sea has been cancelled for today. No cause given.
UPDATE (12:25 p.m.): All traffic heading into Seaside Park on Route 35 is closed until further notice, according to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department.
An explosion mangled a garbage can this morning near the boardwalk in Seaside Park as a race benefiting service-members was about to begin.
The incident began around 9:30 a.m. when police received a report of an explosion and a smoldering garbage can near D Street and the boardwalk, police said.
“I saw and heard it,” said Ben Currie, who snapped the image above. “Dropped me to my knees. It was so loud.”
Responding personnel immediately began evacuating the boardwalk and Ocean Avenue.
An picture of a garbage can showed a large hole through the middle and smoke rising. Authorities are investigating what caused the explosion. The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office is only referring to it as an “explosive device.”
Police were investigating another suspicious device near the explosion site late this morning and evacuated nearby homes and the beach. There is a heavy police presence in the area.
Law enforcement personnel is currently searching the entire area and will be sweeping the side streets in the municipality between 14th Avenue and Porter Avenue.
There were no injuries, and there was no damage beyond the explosion site, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office said in a release.
Witnesses say the Seaside Semper Five Marine Corps Charity 5k was delayed before the explosion due to late sign-ins. The explosion occurred right near the race route.
Police and emergency personnel from nearby communities, including K-9 units and at least one bomb squad, were responding to the scene late this morning. The FBI and ATF were also requested to respond.
An alert from the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department said to avoid coming to Seaside Park.
The race, which was canceled, benefits the MARSOC Foundation.
According to the website, the foundation was “established to provide benevolent support to active duty and medically retired MARSOC personnel and their families as well as to the families of Marines and Sailors who have lost their lives in service to our Nation.”
This is a developing story.