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'We Will Rebuild': Playland's Castaway Cove Damaged After Four-Alarm Fire Erupts On Ocean City Boardwalk

OCEAN CITY, N.J. (CBS) -- Officials and business owners in Ocean City, New Jersey, are surveying the devastation. A fire ripped through the boardwalk and Playland's Castaway Cove, charring the iconic summer getaway.

Video from an apartment across the street from an engulfed Playland's Castaway Cove as a neighbor who wished not to be identified watch in horror.

Ocean City Boardwalk Fire Ferris Wheel 013021.Sub.01_frame_0
(credit: CBS3)

Firefighters worked for hours to control the flames and hot spots.

"I was surprised how hot it was too," the neighbor said. "We went outside and felt the heat from the flames. Scary cause a lot of black smoke, a whole lot of black smoke, and then all of a sudden you see the flames coming out and burning the ship."

The signature pirate ship that sits atop the popular Ocean City amusement park is now almost unrecognizable. Its mast, charred.

"A lot of that fell down inside the building itself," Ocean County Councilmember Jody Levchuk said, "so there's significant damage. I mean, it's a complete redo."

Officials say the four-alarm fire began around 7:40 a.m. Saturday and required eight fire companies, including Ocean City's. The fire completely gutted the entire arcade area and several kid rides, according to fire officials, before eventually spreading to two attached businesses.

A viewer captured the firefight from his drone out over the Atlantic Ocean.

Hailey Walker, a Castaway Cove employee and ride operator during the summer, could only watch from the ground.

"I saw it online and I knew I had to come drive here and check it out," Walker said. "It's really sad. Castaway Cove brings a lot of happiness to a lot of people and it's a landmark here."

The owners of Castaway Cove released a statement on Facebook, saying, in part, "We struggle to comprehend this morning's events and what will be of the next few months, but we can assure you this, we will rebuild."

To our family and loyal guests, we thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We would...

Posted by Playland's Castaway Cove OCNJ on Saturday, January 30, 2021

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. No one was injured.

"It is the goal of the owners of the amusement park here, all of the employees as well as the surrounding businesses to do everything that we need to do to make sure this is rebuilt as good as possible," Levchuk said.


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