Amusement park fire sends smoke billowing, damages building

Posted at 4:19 PM, Jan 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-30 16:19:50-05

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (AP) -- Fire severely damaged a building at an amusement park in New Jersey and sent dramatic smoke billowing across the skyline Saturday, but no injuries were reported.

The blaze at Playland's Castaway Cove in Ocean City, in southern New Jersey, began at 7:40 a.m. Saturday in the building that houses the park's arcade, offices, and two fast-food restaurants, officials said.

The building, which was left with "extensive damage," was empty at the time and no fire-related injuries were reported, spokesperson Doug Bergen said.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Bergen said.

"A west wind fueled the fire but likely spared neighboring buildings," Bergen said in a news release. The boardwalk didn't appear damaged, but access to the surrounding area is being blocked for now, he said.

Leaders of Playland Castaway Cove vowed to rebuild and said it would be open "sooner rather than later."

"We have a secondary entrance that will now be our main entrance for the foreseeable future," the company said in a post on Facebook. "... For now, hug your loved ones, pray for the first responders and know that we will be back in the spring of 2021!"

It wasn't the only dramatic fire in New Jersey on Saturday. At the other end of the state, officials said a huge blaze at a recycling plant in Passaic might burn for days. Two firefighters were injured, and the cause was also under investigation.