New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives his first live briefing on the boardwalk fire in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights, Ocean County, New Jersey.
Judging from his own reaction, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said he can only imagine how people who live and work in Seaside Park and Seaside Heights feel after today's massive boardwalk fire.
"I told my staff, 'I feel like I want to throw up,'" Christie said in his first briefing as the fire still burned behind him in Ocean County, New Jersey.
"After all the effort and time and resources that we've put in to help the folks of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park rebuild, as I said, it's just unthinkable," Christie said, surrounded by residents who had spent most of the afternoon watching the fire spread .
"I know how I'm feeling, I can only imagine how the residents and business owners in this area are feeling. My heart goes out to them. That's why I'm here," Christie said.
The governor said the fire, which began around 2:20 p.m. near the Kohr's frozen custard shop in Seaside Park, had spanned six blocks by 7 p.m. Fire companies up and down the Jersey Shore were called in to help. Christie estimated there were about 400 firefighters on scene.
Winds gusting up to 30 miles per hour caused the fire to moved quickly, gutting at least 20 businesses and spreading from Seaside Park's boardwalk, which survived Superstorm Sandy, to the newly rebuilt boardwalk in Seaside Heights.
Firefighters hoped to contain the fire by digging up the boardwalk, and then digging a 20-foot trench at Lincoln Avenue. They were also hoping to get help from thunderstorms which were moving in as the sun went down.
Along with the wind, firefighters also faced the challenge of bringing in enough water. The area's water supply was damaged during Superstorm Sandy.
"So most of the water you see here fighting the fire right now are lines being drawn from Barnegat Bay," Christie said.
The governor pleaded with people to stay away from the area, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.
"Whether you're just folks who love the shore and want to help. . .my admonition to you: Do not come here. Do not travel. Stay away," he said.
Residents who lived up to the "Stronger Than The Storm" motto after Sandy, will find strength again, the governor said.
"Listen. This is us. So, as soon as this is over, we'll pick ourselves up, we'll dust ourselves off and we'll get back to work."