Sea Isle City: Fire Destroys 3 Houses on Hard-Hit New Jersey Beach

Monday, 21 Apr 2014 01:07 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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A Sea Isle City fire ripped through a trio of beachfront homes last week, virtually gutting the properties and damaging a handful of others in the small New Jersey town.

It's not yet clear why the flames erupted around 4:30 p.m. Friday, but the ocean winds quickly fanned them into a full-on seven-alarm fire, according to NBC Philadelphia.

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"The wind was blowing hard from the beach, going towards the bay," Sea Isle City summer resident Loretta Giello told the local station. "And I kept hearing sirens and sirens, and I saw so much black smoke that I started to run down there to see what was happening."

It's also not clear whether the homes were occupied at the time of the blaze, but officials said no injuries were reported.

"It was just amazing how fast the first house went up in flames," witness Daniel O'Connell told NBC. "I followed the smell [of smoke] and speeding police cars to the house where there was just a small amount of smoke coming out of the basement of one of the houses."

The Sea Isle City fire is just the latest incident in a string of disasters to hit the Jersey shore over the last few years. A year after Hurricane Sandy ravaged the area in 2012, a fire took out most of the rebuilt boardwalk in Seaside, N.J., in September.

And just last month in Point Pleasant, a fire killed three people and destroyed a motel where many displaced Sandy residents were staying.

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