A wind-swept fire has raged through two beachside towns on the eastern U.S. seaboard, less than a year after Superstorm Sandy left the same communities in ruins.
Authorities said the massive blaze started Thursday afternoon in a custard shop on the coastal boardwalk in Seaside Park, New Jersey, south of New York City, and quickly spread to the neighboring town of Seaside Heights. More than 30 businesses were destroyed before the fire was contained, although only minor injuries were reported.
The two communities had struggled to recover from the destruction left in the wake of the hurricane-like Sandy storm last October, with a damaged roller coaster that plunged into the sea a defining image of the storm's power. The communities rebuilt themselves in time for this year's summertime vacation season, only to see much of it destroyed again in the blaze.
The New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, visited the scene and said it sickened him after all the work that had gone into restoring the communities.
"I feel like I want to throw up. After all the effort and time and resources that we put into it, to see this going on is just unthinkable."