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Boardwalk fire investigators look for cause of blaze

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Updated: 9/13/2013 3:46 pm
(NBC News) -- First Superstorm Sandy and now a devastating fire has once again demolished part of an iconic New Jersey boardwalk.

Firefighters spent the day dousing hot spots and investigating what caused the fire.

From the sky, the iconic Funtown Pier resembles a war zone.

"It's just a nightmare, you know, It's just a nightmare," said firefighter and arcade owner Bob Stewart.

Stewart pointed out where his arcade and candy stand used to be.

"I got up. I threw up. Sick to my stomach, everything is gone," Stewart said.

Thursday's fire started near a frozen custard shop and consumed about 30 businesses stretched across four blocks.

To try and stop the fire from spreading further, firefighters were forced to cut a section out of the boardwalk.

"What you do is you eliminate, you eliminate a source for the fire to travel," said Chief Fire Coordinator Brian Gabriel.

Firefighters spent much of Friday, dousing the still smoldering boardwalk.

No one was killed in the fire but three officers suffered serious injuries after falling off a truck leaving the scene.

Initial estimates put the damage in the millions.

The A.T.F. has joined local investigators to determine what caused the fire.

Building experts say it was fueled by high winds and structures built of wood.

"It's a risk that you take with that type of construction, Robert Solomon with the National Fire Protection.

It just was just months ago, that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie celebrated the boardwalk's rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy destroyed the same stretch of beach.

Today Christie promised to rebuild again.

"We have endured and begun to come back from the devastation of Sandy. We will not let this fire destroy those efforts," the Governor said.

The community is devastated but also promising to stay Jersey strong.

-- Danielle Leigh, NBC News, reports
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