About 12 weeks after the wind-whipped inferno destroyed a 4-block stretch of boardwalk between Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, the 8-acre cleanup is nearing completion, according to a report in the Asbury Park Press.
Today, crews toppled the Tower of Fear, an approximately 200-foot tall structure that could be seen for miles on a clear day, as captured in video by South Seaside Park resident Darren Belick. The 120-foot tall Slingshot will soon fall.
Demolition and cleanup crews began the process in early October and moved fast. By Halloween, most of the area was cleared, leaving the area in its natural sandy state, as captured by an drone helicopter.
Only three structures will remain within the fire zone, including the Sawmill Cafe, Beachcomber Bar and Grill, and Stevie D’s Arcade. The Beachcomber Bar and Grill reopened just a few weeks after the blaze, saved by its recently installed sprinkler system. The Asbury Park Press report states that there will be a restored boardwalk between Seaside Heights and Seaside Park this summer.
Seaside Park and Seaside Heights officials hired South Toms River-based Eagle Paving Corp to complete the demoliton and cleanup project. The company will receive roughly $4.7 million for the work.
The state’s Economic Development Authority has set aside $15 million from programs offered to help in the recovery from Superstorm Sandy to assist the fire-impacted business owners. The money will not affect the funding earmarked for residents recovering from the superstorm.
The fire has been blamed on the failure of electrical wiring impacted by Superstorm Sandy floodwaters.