Devastation and Loss: From a Reporter's Point of View

By Lauren DiSanto
|  Friday, Sep 13, 2013  |  Updated 1:33 AM EDT
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Devastation and Loss: From a Reporter's Point of View

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Everyday, reporters head to the scenes of tragedy, loss and devastation. Some of these stories hit especially close to home for our NBC10 reporters who live in the communities we cover.

On Thursday, as fire swept down the boardwalk in Seaside Park, it was an especially emotional scene for people at the Jersey Shore after close to a year-long struggle to bounce back after Superstorm Sandy.

NBC10 Jersey Shore Bureau reporter Ted Greenberg has spent the last 11 months covering these stories of struggle, these stories of rebuilding and stories of triumph as the area welcomed tourists once again this summer.

"To have this terrible fire come and wipe them out again, it's really just heartbreaking," said Greenberg on his drive home after a long, emotional day in Ocean County.

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"We don't always share our feelings, but on a story like this it's hard not too, especially after covering, for almost a year, Sandy and the aftermath and the struggle to rebuild after so much damage from the storm."

The fire, which burned out-of-control for 7 hours, while an estimated 400 firefighters worked to get a handle on it, ended up destroying at least 80% of the boardwalk in Seaside Park, some of the newly rebuilt boardwalk in Seaside Heights and dozens of businesses.

"I was in Atlantic City this afternoon around 2:30 p.m. and started hearing the chatter coming across on Police and Fire scanner," said Greenberg. "At first they were talking about smoke coming from underneath the boardwalk and I've covered enough fires in other areas of the shore to know that when smoke is coming up from underneath the boardwalk, it's never a good sign."

Greenberg immediately headed to the scene and as he drove on Route 37 from Toms River over the bridge into the Seaside area, he got his first look at what was happening.

"You could see the plume of smoke from miles away and I just knew that it was going to be really, really bad when we got there."

After arriving at the boardwalk, Greenberg describes the expressions of shock on the faces of residents and visitors, who stood watching in disbelief at what they were witnessing.

"When you see it with your own eyes, it was kind of surreal and beyond belief at how big it was."

In more than two decades of covering news, Greenberg described today's fire as probably the biggest he's ever seen.

"For me, when the camera goes off, I still feel the same emotions," said Greenberg. "When I'm on television, I try to express exactly what I'm seeing, and to whatever degree I'm able to, what I'm feeling."

Greenberg says since tourism is the heartbeat of these Jersey Shore communities, and as difficult and tough as it's going to be, they have no choice but to rally together and rebuild-- again.

"It's like how much can these people take? Already decimated by Sandy, many people here are still trying to recover and now you have this happen again," said Greenberg. "I don't know how anybody could not feel that and not think that, whether you're on camera or off."
 


Contact Lauren DiSanto at 610.668.5705, lauren.disanto@nbcuni.com or follow @LaurenNBC10 on Twitter.

 


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