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Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 5:58pm
(CNN) — Firefighters fought the high flames and black smoke of a blaze tearing a path through boardwalk buildings in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, Thursday afternoon.
CNN affiliate KYW reported that the fire started at Kohr Brothers frozen custard shop on the FunTown Amusement Pier around 2:15 p.m. ET. The fire escalated to six alarms shortly before 4 p.m. ET, according to the same affiliate.
Seaside Heights spokesman Michael Graichen said Thursday afternoon that he believed the fire had spread to 19 buildings and was still moving.
Fire departments from surrounding counties were deployed to the scene of the six-alarm blaze, according to KYW.
The fire was still burning along Ocean Terrace Avenue between Stockton Avenue and Dupont Avenue Thursday afternoon.
A large backhoe could be seen tearing up what was a brand-new boardwalk in an attempt to create a fire break. Graichen said part of the new boardwalk is being removed possibly to act as a fire break.
Some people were being treated for smoke inhalation, according to KYW. The nearest hospitals, Jersey Shore Medical Center and Community Medical Center Toms River, had not received any patients related to the blaze Thursday evening.
Gov. Chris Christie arrived at the scene and was scheduled to speak to the media 7 p.m. ET with local officials, his press secretary said Thursday afternoon.
"Pictures and video of the fire are startling and sad given what Seaside Park and neighboring Seaside Heights have endured with Superstorm Sandy. Governor Christie is deeply concerned and will get a firsthand look shortly at the scene," Michael Drewniak said.
"Only thing we've heard it appears that there is a serious fire at Funtown Pier -- privately owned on the southern end of town, Not on public property, " Seaside Heights Borough Administrator John Camera told CNN Thursday.
"The county has support out there, we have a mobile communications center set up, we've sent sheriff's officers to help and Ocean County (Office of Emergency Management) has been activated if they need any additional help," Donna Flynn, director of communications for Ocean County told CNN.
Jersey Central Power and Light spokesman Ron Morano said their crews are in the area and that he is not aware of any outages due to the fire.
The famous boardwalk of Seaside Heights was thrown into the public eye shortly after Superstorm Sandy tore its famous Jet Star roller coaster into the water. The coaster was removed from the ocean in May, shortly before the boardwalk reopened for business.
The FunTown Pier was destroyed by Sandy and partially reopened this summer.
Seaside Heights Mayor Bill Akers told CNN in May that rebuilding the boardwalk cost $8 million. The total cost for Sandy repairs in Seaside Heights was $16 million.